15 July, 2013

Table With A View

I met Clara in 2002, she had recently moved to town to be closer to her daughter; she joined our church, and our Quilt Ministry. She was 84 at the time. We became quick friends and, eventually, I began picking her up at her apartment, and taking her back home, on Thursdays for our weekly quilting sessions at church; I enjoyed those times and I believe that Clara did too. I learned a lot from Clara, especially not to count on spring arriving and staying even though the daffodils might be blooming.  "No, she'd explain, we've not been through Blackberry winter (or Dogwood winter or Redbud winter) yet, there's more cold yet to come" she would caution. One time she invited me to visit her so that she could show me her quilt collection. She had prepared delicious little orange cookies and sweet tea for us to enjoy while she entertained me with wonderful stories about growing up in Tennessee, and about being a schoolteacher there. She told me all about her husband and how he was paid in quilts for some sort of job he did when they were newlyweds and about the adventures that she and her husband had enjoyed while searching out antiques from estate sales all over the East coast after he had retired. They bought, and ultimately sold, specific antiques to customers who would use them in their homes or places of business; she loved the hunt, and the travel. She told me about a day that they had driven to Maine to pick up a load of items and, as was her habit, she had asked the man  ahead of time, over the phone, if he happened to have any pieces of certain antique china pattern. This was her own personal request; she some pieces from that collection and she wanted to complete her place settings. He told her that he did and she asked if he would lay them back for her. When they arrived at this man's place they made short work of loading up the goods that they had driven up there for and Clara inquired about the china. The man looked pleased with himself and asked them to follow him; he walked back behind his barn and started off across a field, they kept right up with him. Clara told me that she was somewhat perplexed until she looked off in the distance and caught sight of the most beautiful ocean view extending beneath the bluff where they stood; and there, right in front of them, was a table spread with a cloth and set with all of the dishes she'd ever imagined in that pattern!  She could scarcely believe the sight before her. When she told me the story her eyes sparkled and her face beamed with joy. She wanted very much to communicate the very same joy to me that she'd felt on that day; at that was she most successful! We laughed together when she related how, her husband realized he'd just met a very skilled salesman and had little other choice but to buy every bit of that china right then and there!

Clara's health began to fail a few years back; she no longer joined us at quilting; and, over time, I didn't see her anymore at church for worship. She passed away early last Friday morning. When I received the phonecall from a friend at church informing me of Clara's death all I could think about was that story of the china being set out on a table with an ocean view and Clara's beaming, joy-filled face. I know that is how she looks now, in His kingdom, free from pain and suffering and joined together once again with her beloved husband; I imagine that they're sitting together at a table... one with an absolutely spectacular view!

Life is Good!

15 comments:

45th Parallel Quilter said...

I have tears in my eyes. You have an eloquent skill at writing ... it is a gift, an art and a blessing. I never met Clara but I feel I knew her through your words. What a beautiful gift you gave to your friend. God bless you! Linda

Janet said...

Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing:)

Pat said...

Once again, thank you for making my day!

Janet O. said...

What a sweet story, Mrs. G. It sounds like the two of you mutually blessed each other's lives.

Kelly said...

What a lovely remembrance!

lindsey said...

This is such a beautiful story and great that she passed on her life stories to you to remember. Now you can imagine her with her Saviour.

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

LOVE this story!

quilter said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes. I can see her before the Table. Thanks for sharing.

Gloria
gyates625@bellsouth.net

Quilting4U said...

I am so sorry for your loss...she sounds like she was such a blessing to this world and I know you will miss her so much!

I agree with 45th Parallel quilter, your words put me in tears, some for the sadness of the loss and some for the fact that she is well forever now.

You ARE such a blessing!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Simply beautiful - and all the more so because it really happened.

How blessed you and Clara were to share so much (and thank you for sharing her with us).

Hugs to you, m'dear. I can feel her joy thanks to your post today.

Synthia said...

What a sweet, heart-warming story. I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. God bless.

Synthia said...

What a sweet, heart-warming story. I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. God bless.

jude's page said...

What a wonderful memory of her that you have, and a great skill for telling the story, thankyou

StitchinByTheLake said...

What a lovely story and what a treasure your memory is! blessings, marlene

cityquilter grace said...

so fortunate to have had this gem in your life; that is what people like that are...gems, worth more than anything manmade