Tuesday, January 17, 2017


When I visit Boo, I sit quite near her, where she reclines on her couch. I show her pictures (she enjoys them), sometimes read her a blog post (she enjoys those too), and tell her what news I might have.

It's hard sometimes, though, to focus on her, not because I don't want to, but because the needlepoint tapestry hanging on the wall behind her distracts me, so striking is it in design, color, careful stitching.

I needle-pointed myself, a long time ago, and no matter how hard I tried, I always pulled my stitches too much in one direction (usually the right). Even blocking didn't always correct my errors. Only twice did I follow someone else's patterns (Christmas stockings). Otherwise, I made my own -- Winnie-the-Pooh characters for children's rooms, backgammon boards (including one designed in imitation of Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie), house portraits.

Boo has told me the story of this tapestry before -- several times, but I always confuse its origin with the figures parading below, spread out on a mirror, making them even more enchanting. They, I think, are Indian, but the tapestry may simply have been one of her nephew's "finds."

At any rate, I look at the tapestry and speak with my elderly friend, slowly and loudly so she can understand my words. And I try to answer the questions she asks, the same ones each visit, the same ones many times in each visit, and I remember that, like the tapestry, her words and memories once fitted together in tight patterns, stitched carefully in her mind, and I think on all the other old folks I've known like her in advanced age.

If only I had paid more attention earlier.

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