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This is from FirstFruits which will be up all week for your free downloaing enjoyment.
There was no cake or pie or even cookies to offer her guest. She was out of tea, too. She couldn't remember the last time she'd shopped. Or eaten for that matter. She found a lone can of
soda in the back of the fridge and took it to the front room. “Can I off you a drink, Miss Oholah?”
The old woman shook her head. “Looks like you need it more, daughter. I came because you need something more.” She untied the bundle, spreading it over the sofa. “You need to grieve and continue instead of being stuck in your shock like a fat turtle in a garbage pail. That's why I'm here.”
Clarindy sat down on the other end of the sofa and looked into the bundle. Cloth, lots of cloth, most of it black or gray, lay in neatly folded smaller bundles. She didn't understand.
“We're going to make a graveyard quilt. It's an old mountain mourning custom, been out of fashion for a hundred and fifty years, but my family always made them. Seemed to help the womenfolk move along life's path. You got no mother or aunty or grandmother or sister to teach you and help you do this. So, get your sewing box and some paper, Clarindy, and we'll start this.”
“A quilt?” Clarindy's laugh shocked her with its bitter anger. “You think a quilt will help anything?”
“Tain't just a quilt, daughter. It's a record of your people. It's a way for you to feel the pain and let it go instead of cuddling it close in like it was a teddy bear. Pain is a bear, right enough, but it will eat your heart and your life and you as well, like a grizzly bear.”
Oholah took out an old-fashioned snapshot book. She offered it over. “These are graveyard quilts. Take a look. Think. Is there a pattern you wanted to make but never did?”
Clarindy looked at the pictures. All the quilts had a central square fenced off from the rest of the pattern and a path that ran to the border. Little black six-sided coffins bearing embroidered names and dates lay within the center and more coffins with names but no dates were tacked to the border of each quilt, all awaiting more deaths.
She shivered and handed the book back to Oholah. “That's morbid.”
“And you sitting here in the dark, not eating, waiting for children who aren't coming home from school ever again, ain't?” Oholah snapped, her famous temper peeking through. Clarindy just looked at her, blank and aching. “Well-a-day.” Oholah sorted the fabric into stacks by color and size of print. “We'll get you through this, Clarindy, just you watch.”