Leaning across the rack the needle flashing with the course thread
Oh she is excited this is her best work ever and it even has red
which is not her favorite color but it looks so pretty here.
It has been difficult to work in secret, but for the past year she
has kept what she was doing from everyone.
Momma tells her she is all thumbs when it comes to stitching..
won’t she be surprised. Her birthday is coming soon and the prize
money at the fair will buy Momma a new dress and a pair of good
shoes for her day.
She wants to hurry, afraid she will prick her fingers
and bleed on the quilt, as the entry must be in this afternoon
just a few stitches and she will knot it off.
“.Ruth..Ruth Annnn” her sister Elizabeth yells for her ‘yes
Lizzie’ she answers hoping she can’t tell where she is hidden
in the hay loft. ‘Daddy says time to go into town better
hurry get that scratchy hay off of you, whatever have you been
doing up there?’ Ruth just smiles as she wraps the quilt in
a new piece of muslin as much to hide it as keep it clean.
‘What is that?’ Lizzie asks as Ruth lowers the ladder with
the package under her arm. She makes her way down the ladder
holding on to the quilt in one hand holding the ladder with the other.
Refusing to answer or let Lizzie hold it as she comes down.
They race to the old farm house where there is a bustle of activity
Momma packing up her famous pies, daddy taking the picnic basket.
Daddy looks at her package and smiles, nods and opens another basket
she places her prize in the basket quickly.
Arriving at the fair they each have their duties before they can
enjoy the fair, so getting those out of the way quickly they then
were ready to walk the fairway. the lights, the barkers, oh and the smells
cotton candy, fried pies, popcorn.
With nearly full stomachs and sleepy half open eyes they returned to where momma was laying out the picnic, Lizzie and Ruth Ann both groaned.
Girls are you alright? Yes momma they answered quickly.
Well come help me get lunch on the table she requested.
After a nice lunch they lay on the quilt momma brought and napped for a while, prior to going to the exhibit hall where judging had been done already.
Momma walked around looking at the hanging quilts, gasping when she came upon Ruth Ann’s, she stood there mesmerized wondering whose needle had done such fine work all the stitches were uniform
and straight but oh the true beauty was in the design and oh the red her favorite
Before long they were calling everyone to the stage, announcing the winners..momma’s cherry and apple pies won blue ribbons again. Then it was time to announce the winners in the quilt contest. Her name was called and as her quilt was brought forth the audience gasped at the beauty and the fact that it was Ruth Anns. She won a blue ribbon taking the prize money in hand she walked to momma and handed it to her, saying Happy Birthday momma, I know its a few days early but I want you to buy something just for yourself like a new dress. She handed the envelope to momma and noticed the tears in her eyes as she said “Ruth Ann I am so proud of you , the stitching in the quilt is truly a work of art.” Thank you ,momma was all she could muster.
It was late when they arrived home all quickly washed the fairground dirt off themselves and told all goodnight.
The next morn Ruth Ann passing her parents room glancing in she sees her quilt lying across the bed. Her Daddy walks by places his hand on her shoulder and says’ Mother said no dress could give her the love you placed in every labored stitch for she knows you did it out of love for her, so she wanted the quilt.’ you did a good thing Ruth Ann.
Momma hugged her when she entered the warm kitchen smelling of ham and homemade biscuits, her stomach growled and they both laughed. Thank you whispered momma in her ear I will cherish the quilt the rest of my days and then you take it for yourself, and if you have a daughter pass it on to her. You made a beautiful quilt Ruth Ann but you made memories and tradition as well, I am so proud of you.
Ruth Ann’s hands are shaking as she folds the old quilt, it is showing the years of use from mommas loving hands holding it as she passed seven years ago. Now she will pass it to her Melody Renee’, the only child they had, for her time was not meant for long now.
Doctors had told her but she lasted a wee bit longer than expected..but now, now is the time. She is tired and momma, daddy and John are waiting for her. She writes the ending of her note to Melody Renee’ , tucks it into the ribbon tied muslin wrapped around the quilt, the same muslin she wrapped around it long ago in the hay loft.
She lies down on the bed with the chenille spread now covering where once
mommas quilt had kept her warm and feeling mommas touch….sigh.