By Paul Big Bear
As the fall weather arrives, what season specific chores do you have; raking leaves, cleaning windows, taking screens out and putting storm windows in? One that I never thought much of, seasonal closets, shorts and short sleeve shirts, summer pants and shoes are put away to make room for; warmer pants and shoes (no white shoes or pants after Labor Day) long sleeve shirts, sweat shirts, and sweaters.
Blankets are brought out and put on the bed as the cold nights signal time for snuggling underneath. As Ginny and I, yes I help now, began pulling winter bedding out noticed an old blanket, actually a quilt and it set me to thinking. This particular quilt is one that my grandmother quilted, she knitted and sewed a lot, actually women have sewn throughout history and quilting has been a big part of sewing since 1650 when Dutch and English settlers introduced quilting to this country. Scraps of cloth; old worn clothes, rags, any material was cut into squares with two squares being sewn into a small pillow filled with padding, these squares were then sewn together into a blanket sized covering for a bed. Women have come together to sew and create quilts for many reasons, from raising funds to keeping our military warm.
As I looked at this quilt I, for the first time, took note of the many colors and patterns of each square, I took note of the thousands of stitches that held these squares together. Old scraps, new scraps, stuffed with what? Cotton, moss, or more scraps (cuttings), whatever was available. Here it is ready to again cover our bed and keep us comfortable on the coldest winter night, how old is this quilt, how many beds has it adorned, how many washings and dryings has it endured and yet it still performs looking good and keeping us warm. As my wife took another blanket out of the winter chest, store bought a few years ago, I said “Honey leave that one in the closet, we won’t need it.” As we spread the quilt on the bed I was thinking “This is beautiful, the material, the work, the love that went into creating this one of a kind bed cover.” Then I thought about the blanket we put away, thin, manufactured by the thousands, and when I thought about it, how many store bought blankets have we gone through over the years?
America is a beautiful quilt, a quilt of people, all different held together with thousands of stitches; strength, pride, love bonded together creating nationalism, pride in who we are as a country. Each person, nationality, ethnicity bonded together with stitches painstakingly worked to create unity, a quilt that has been on the job almost 250 years. To those who would tear down history and teach denial I say put that new blanket back in the closet, maybe one day it will be cut into squares as this country once again sees the beauty of a warm, strong quilt.