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The Happy Little Helper is a Joyful Giver

There is always one gift or one story to make every Christmas unique. My thirteen-year-old Grand is this year’s story.

            Annabel is Daughter’s middle child with an older brother and sister and a younger sister and brother.  Ten days before Christmas she set up business – an in-home business – to earn money for gifts.

            “Mom, come in and see what Annabel is doing,” Daughter said when I stopped by her home to leave a borrowed waffle maker.  Annabel stood on her knees behind her work desk, a piano stool, that displayed a handmade poster:  The Happy Little Helper is IN.  In smaller letters I read ‘Handy man work and house cleaning service.’

            Three of Annabel’s siblings sat nearby on the floor when she saw me. “Hi, Gran!  How can I help you?”  She grinned waiting for my reply. 

            “Can you clean my house?”  I asked. 

            “Probably later, but Lucy and Elsie (her sisters) have some things they need done first.”

            Annabel worked; she vacuumed her sisters’ rooms and cleaned the interior of her family’s van and Husband’s car.  She didn’t clean my house because she had enough money, she told me.

            I was her shopping chauffeur and assistant.  I packed my patience and blocked out the morning.  I’ve stood in front of chewing gum displays for fifteen minutes while Annabel chose one pack – there are so many choices.

            “I can get everything at Wal Mart,” my Grand said as she buckled her seat belt. She held a small spiral notebook with only four lines written.  “I know where everything is.” 

             “Let’s go to Aisle I-17 first.”  Annabel led the way and immediately picked up a Gatorade water bottle.  I suggested that another one would be a better buy.  “No, this is the one Samuel (17-year- old brother) will like.”  I wondered how she knew which aisle.  “There’s a search and map on the store website,” my Grand explained and headed to toys where she chose Hot Wheels tracks and a Hot Wheels Lego truck for her younger brother. 

            As she stood looking at the many card and board games, I offered help.  My Grand repeated the name of the card game twice:  Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza.  “Yes!  There’s only one and it was hidden behind another game. Lucy will love this!” Annabel pumped her fist.

            The hanging space for Rubic cube key chains was empty and we couldn’t find a hidden one.  With a gleam in her eye Annabel said, “I’ll get it online. It’ll be here on the 28th, and I’ll make Elsie a paper one.  She’ll be happy to get her gift later.”  Fifteen minutes after walking toward Aisle I-17, Annabel practically skipped to the self-checkout lane. 

            In my van, we searched Amazon for the key chain, ordered it, and Annabel handed me money to pay for it.  “I’ve got $3.00 left!” she said.

            Christmas 2022 will always be the year of The Happy Little Helper, the fastest shopping ever, and the happiest giver who should be on a billboard with the caption The Joy of Giving.


Christmas Stockings

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. That line from “Twas’ the Night Before Christmas” conjures up happy memories.  As children, we emptied filled Christmas stockings, and now many years later, we fill them for our children and grandchildren.

            Although the author of this popular Christmas poem has been disputed, it’s documented that it was first published in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in New York on December 23, 1823.  At the time, no one claimed to have written “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” the original title, but in 1844, Clement Clark Moore acknowledged authorship when he included the poem in his poetry collection.

Moore’s poem wasn’t the beginning of Christmas stockings, but I must share that “Twas’ the Night Before Christmas” established the names of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer – all except Rudolph – and connected St. Nicholas to Christmas which led to our image of Santa Claus.

            The tradition of filled stockings began in Asia Minor when a nobleman named Nicholas, born in A. D. 280, often left gifts for children late at night.  He didn’t want anyone to know who gave the gifts so Nicholas spread the word that children must go to bed to receive gifts.

            One legend tells of a wealthy family whose life changed when the father, a merchant, fell into poverty and he feared that he couldn’t provide dowries for his three daughters.  When St. Nicholas heard this he stopped at the merchant’s home and threw three bags filled with gold coins down the chimney.  The bags fell into the girls’ stockings which were hung by the fireplace mantle to dry. 

            The next morning the girls found the coins, and, as expected, they later married and lived happily ever after. This story spread through the small village, then throughout the land, and children began to hang their stockings by the fireplace hoping to receive gifts from St. Nicholas.

            Centuries later, Moore wrote of Christmas stockings hung by the chimney.  And now, the hanging of stockings is one of the most popular Christmas traditions.  If there’s no chimney, stockings are hung from doorknobs or windowsills or kitchen counters or even left lying under Christmas trees.

            Family tradition usually determines what is in stockings.  My childhood stocking always had a huge straight peppermint candy stick and Brazil nuts – things I ate only one time a year.  I know a family that fills stockings with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and underwear.  Another includes gifts, even the most treasured gift.

            When my 11-year-old Grand and I talked about stockings, she said that stockings are fun because there are surprises inside.  “Something you didn’t ask for or put on your wish list and there’s always something to eat,” she said. 

            My Grand is right and no one is too old for Christmas stockings.  I’ll leave my empty stocking under the tree on Christmas Eve in hopes that St. Nicholas, aka Husband, will be here.  He knows my favorite candy.

Top Toy the Year You were Born

I’m a sucker for anything labeled The Year You Were Born.  More than once I’ve read a birthday card listing the news of my birth year and then placed that card back on the sales rack.  I’ve listened to my birth year’s top songs even though I don’t remember them.  So, an online article entitled ‘Top holiday toys from the year you were born’ caught my attention.

            This list, published by stacker.com, begins with 1920 and was created using information from the national toy archives and The Strong National Museum of Play, neither of which I’ve heard of, but seem to validate the choices. 

            As I scrolled and looked at pictures, I realized toys include games, dolls, stuffed animals, books, and kits – many that were familiar and some that are still right here in Husband’s and my home.   The Raggedy Ann doll was the top gift in 1920, and the one that Mom made for Daughter in the late 1970’s is still on my doll bed.  We still have Tinkertoys, which were the best gift in 1922.  And everyone has probably received or given the 1925 top gift, a Teddy bear.

            Anyone else have happy memories of opening a box of crayons?  In 1926, a box of 22 Crayola Crayons was the best gift. By the early 1950s, a box of 64 crayons, with a built-in sharpener on the side of the box, was popular.

            Other top toys of the late 1920’s were a Radio Flyer wagon, a yo-yo, and a pop-up book, and all have stood the test of time.  All were gifts for my children in the 1970s and for my Grands thirty years later. 

            Scrolling past the 1930s, I found the top gift for the year I was born:  a Tonka truck.  I never owned a Tonya, but Son’s heavy metal truck sits on our garage shelf and one day while we watched his son fill the bed with sand, I suggested he take it.  Son answered, “No, let all the kids play with it here at your house.”  All eight Grands have filled that big yellow truck with sand or dirt or gravel or mulch in our backyard.

            Top gifts of the 1950s were under my childhood Christmas trees and are still around.  The wine-colored Scrabble box is taped together, but the small square tiles are just as they were almost seventy years ago.  My blue hula hoop is long gone, but my Grands sometimes spin the sparkly purple one I bought a few years back.

            Most girls of my generation had at least one Barbie, the 1959 top toy, and I remember being excited one Christmas when Barbie’s clothes were my favorite gifts. Yes, my Grands have dressed my Barbie with those clothes.

Fast forward to 2021’s top toy, a reversible octopus plushie that is happy on one side and angry on the other.  It won’t be under my Christmas tree, but yo-yos and books – those are gifts that my Grands would like.  Please don’t tell them those are old toys.

Christmas Wish Lists and Shopping

When I was a kid and the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in the mail, I took it to my bedroom.  I folded down page corners and circled dolls and clothes. That catalog was my wish list.

             I dreamed about the fancy dolls and wearing the cool looking clothes, but I was happy with flannel pajamas that Mom had made and a doll from the local hardware store.  I do remember one gift from Sears: a stiff blue nylon can-can slip that held my full-gathered skirts almost parallel to the ground. 

            A generation later, a friend and I bought Santa Claus gifts in October.  After we’d shopped locally and didn’t find everything we were certain would be on our children’s wish lists, we made a Nashville shopping trip.

            The gifts that Daughter and Son got during the 1980s are the story of their childhood years. Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcakes dolls, a Speak and Spell, walkie-talkies, basketballs, books, and a tape recorder. And because I thought clothes should be Christmas gifts, Tennessee Tech sweatshirts.  

            Another generation later, Christmas shopping overwhelms me.  A month ago, I told Husband that choosing gifts for our eight Grands was a monumental task and it threatened my Christmas joy.  He listened while I reminisced about the fun shopping days for our children and I wanted to get shopping done soon and I wish I knew something each Grand would like and I didn’t even know anyone’s size.  

            When I had asked for ideas, I wasn’t taken seriously. “Really, Gran? Christmas is a long time from now.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet,” my Grands said.

            So, Husband, bless him, took charge.  He created a flyer and made sure it was posted on the refrigerators at our Grands’ homes.

            ‘Attention: Grands

            Gran and Pop request that you submit your Christmas wish lists by bedtime on Monday, November 22.  You may call, text, email, Facebook message, Facetime, or Zoom to forward your requests.’

            At the bottom of the page in tiny font, Husband wrote words that will forever tell the story of 2021. ‘Disclaimer:  Not responsible for supply chain issues, cargo ships stuck in the Panama Canal or off the coast of California, Georgia or Louisiana, sleepy or uncooperative elves, fat reindeer, weather conditions, overworked postal workers, forgetful UPS drivers, thrown reindeer shoes, boring knock-knock jokes, overcooked cranberry sauce, and any other conditions beyond our control including, but limited to, color selections, size availability, lighting conditions, burned out Christmas tree bulbs, and wrinkled wrapping paper.’

            We got lists.  Puzzles, books, electronics, Legos, fun socks, pajamas, and a veterinarian kit. And one money request for an after Christmas shopping trip. 

            Christmas shopping changed from mail order to toy and department stores to buying some gifts online, but I’m glad wish lists still include toys, books, and clothes. 

            And the excitement of seeing a wrapped package under a Christmas tree never changes.  Even for my teen-age Grand who sent a text with an online link and wrote, “Here’s my wish list!”

Surprise Christmas Gifts!

If ever there was a Christmas to give surprise gifts, it’s this one.  Unexpected gifts that bring smiles and laughs and memories. 

            Neither Husband’s nor my family pulled pranks often, but we remember a few surprises, like the year Uncle B played a trick on his father-in-law, my grandfather.  Papa was one of the most honest and fair and no-nonsense people I’ve ever known.  When Mom shopped for shirts for his three sons-in-laws’ Christmas presents and then told Papa the cost of each, he would give her money, even as little as a dollar, to put in the pocket if a shirt cost less than the others. 

            Every Christmas Papa gave one-pound boxes of Paul’s Stick Candy, soft stick candy of many different flavors, and as a kid I thought he owned the candy company because his name was Paul.  Papa tucked a $20 bill under the top flap of the white cardboard box – fifty years ago that amount bought a brown paper bag full of groceries.

            Uncle B told everyone except Papa his plan.  When Uncle B opened his and Aunt Nell’s box of candy, he swapped the $20 bill for a $100 bill.  He waved that bill above his head and said, “Thank you, Paul!”  Papa’s chin dropped, his eyes grew big and he reached into his back pocket, pulled out his billfold and looked inside it. How could he have made such a mistake!  Everyone, even us young grandchildren, laughed.

            Papa’s look of astonishment changed to confusion, when Uncle B drew a breath and held up Papa’s $20 bill.  Now, decades later, we grandchildren still laugh about the look on Papa’s face.

            Husband’s dad, aka Grandfather, was shocked by a gift he received one Christmas.  He had no hint of what was inside a beautifully wrapped package, but he was prepared for a surprise because no name was written on the gift tag to show who gave it.  Grandfather’s children, in-laws, and grandchildren sat gathered in his and Grandmother’s living room, and only the giver knew what was in the package.  Young grandchildren sat close on the floor by Grandfather’s feet, and he took his own sweet time to open the mystery package.

            Grandfather laughed aloud when only he saw the gift:  an xx-large white cotton bra embellished with sequins and red ribbons.  Holding both straps, Grandfather held his gift high for all to see.  Little ones covered their faces; grown ones laughed until tears rolled.  And for many years, we laughed again because that decorated bra was often among the gifts under the Ray family Christmas tree.

            Have you ever gotten a pig’s tail for Christmas?  When Husband was young, his maternal grandfather and uncles traditionally killed hogs the week of Christmas so a fresh pig’s tale was often wrapped and under the Christmas tree for the Powell family Christmas gathering.

            I don’t have a pig’s tail, but there are some things around our house that will be surprise gifts. As we celebrate this holy day, let’s bring laughter to Christmas 2020.

Shop at Home – Chapter 2

After reading my recent column about shopping at home, friends shared stories and agreed that I could share them here. 

 Five years ago, Jo found a newspaper from 1989 that had four-leaf clovers dried between its pages.  She remembered a day when her son Eli, then age 10, and his grandpa walked across the field between their homes.  Eli found 82 four-leaf clovers that day, and Jo had dried some of them in the newspaper that had been stored on a top closet shelf.  Jo cut an 8” x 10” section that showed the date from the paper.  She glued clovers around the paper’s edges and wrote a poem about that day when Eli and his grandpa were together.  Eli was 35 when he received the framed newspaper and poem, and he cried, as did all who watched him open his Christmas gift.  To make it an even more sentimental gift, Eli’s grandpa died in 1989.

            Delores shared that her mother writes a poem for her children’s birthdays and those saved poems are some of Delores’s most cherished gifts.  Recently, I found a picture of my granny holding my son when he was only six weeks old.  Jo’s and Delores’s gift ideasprompted me to write a short memory of Granny and mail it along with the picture to Son.  His immediate response and thank you give me the idea that a single picture with a short writing might be inside a few Christmas packages.

            Linda’s mother asked her brother and Linda to walk through her home and pick out the family pieces of antique furniture that they would like to have.  Last week, my friend Carol invited her only granddaughter to look through her jewelry and choose what she wanted.  I’m reminded of the day that my aunt took a ring off her finger and put it on mine. It was my grandma’s birthstone ring that had five stones:  one for each of my grandparents, my mother, and my two aunts.  Being the only surviving daughter, Aunt Doris wore the ring often.  That day she said, “It’s your turn to wear this ring.” 

            Friends also chimed in about regifting.  Nell said that her late step-mother thought she was the master re-gifter, but her gifts proved otherwise.  She gave a car vacuum with dirt inside the bag and a casserole dish with food stuck under the rim of the lid.  Her clothing gifts weren’t well received either:  a sweater with a speck of dried food on the front and a silk blouse with wrinkles where it had been tucked into a skirt waistline.

            One of the most legendary gifts that Nell’s step-mother gave was an evening clutch with theater stubs inside – not tickets, stubs.  This idea can be refined:  tickets or green folding money inside a new purse or wallet could be a really good gift.

            There are a at least two advantages of shopping at home:  you can wear pajamas and you’ll save money. Have fun shopping!  Only eight more days.

Why not shop at home?

            Is anyone Christmas shopping at home this year?  Not from home – at home?  My mom and Husband’s mom gave gifts that were theirs and that have become more valuable, sentimentally and, maybe, monetarily over the years.   

            I remember a Christmas in the late 1980s when I opened a lightweight package from under Mom and Dad’s tree and found a note inside.  I don’t remember exactly what Mom wrote, but my gift was a to choose a framed art print of a painting by Ralph McDonald from those that hung on Mom and Dad’s living room and dining room walls.  Mom had collected McDonald prints and now they were Christmas gifts for us children and spouses and grandchildren, who were teen-agers. 

            I was a surprised.  Mom and Dad liked these prints of wildlife in their natural settings, of frontier men and American Indians, and I couldn’t imagine how their house would look without these pictures.  And I wondered what if more than one of us chose the same print.  Mom explained the plan.  We were each to write the name of one or two favorite prints on a piece of paper and give it to her.  And while our chosen prints would be ours, she and Dad wanted to keep them hanging on their walls for a few more years.

            Mom knew us well – we didn’t choose the same prints.  After her death, when Dad sold their home and moved to a smaller place, Mom’s Ralph McDonald print collection had already been divided.  The Statesman, a picture a mockingbird, has hung on my living room wall since 1992.    

            Husband’s mother often shopped at home. When we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, she gave us a set of glasses, Princess House Heritage pattern juice glasses.  Ann explained that they were really old, may fifty-years old, and she’d bought them at a ‘home party.’  I was always amused when Ann would say, “That’s really old,” a way of saying that’s something valuable and keep it.  I treasure these hand-blown etched crystal glasses and they fit my young Grands’ hands perfectly.  One of my favorite Christmas gifts from Ann was a plain heavy glass butter dish with a domed top that had been her mother’s.  It’s got a few scratches and a chip which reminds me that it set on the family kitchen table when Ann was a child. 

            Not all shop-at-home gifts are sentimental.  I have a gift stash:  Christmas hand towels, fancy napkins, notecards, pens with pom-pom tops, scented candles, magnifying glasses, copies of a favorite devotional book, and even a small decorative pillow.  These are items purchased at discount prices or gifts I’ve received and someone else will enjoy more than me.  (I’m careful not to re-gift to the one who gave the gift!)

            Shopping at home would be a good choice this year, but I’m not sure what’s here for our Grands.  What if I wrapped home things in Christmas packages, and we play a good old-fashion game of Grab Bag?  It could be a new tradition.

‘Tis the Week Before Christmas

‘Tis the week before Christmas and my life is a’jumble.  There’s much to do.  Write lists.  Shop. Wrap gifts.  Attend Christmas programs and plays.  Bake and decorate cookies with my Grands.  Deliver gifts.  Watch Christmas movies. Read A Christmas Carol, for the umpteenth time.  

            When the hustle and bustle overwhelmed me, I brewed a cup of tea and settled into a favorite chair where I can see an outside birdfeeder and our Christmas tree.  Finches and cardinals calmed my thoughts.  A nativity ornament, carved of olive wood and bought in Jerusalem, reminded me why I celebrate Christmas and soothed my spirit. 

            Ornaments on my tree take me back to memories of childhood, to the people who cared for and loved me.  I think of gifts.  On Christmas Eve, I opened one gift:  flannel pajamas.  Long sleeve, button-up the front, collared pajama tops and pajama pants with tucks just above the hem so they could be lengthened as I grew.  I never saw Mom make them, but I knew pajamas were in the wrapped package that she put under the tree a few days before Christmas. 

            Granny always gave money, but the amount varied.  In November, she’d say, “I don’t know how much you’ll get for Christmas.  It depends on how the ‘baccy sells.”  Granny had a tobacco base that she leased and when those dried tobacco leaves were sold in mid-December, she’d get a check.  Most years she gave me a $5 bill, a generous gift in the 1950s, but a few years Granny gave three $5 bills, a small fortune!

            Christmas Day dinners were the most special meal of the year. Dad, my uncles, and grandfather wore white shirts and ties; Mom, my aunts, and grandmothers wore church dresses and pearl necklaces.  The dining room table was covered with a white tablecloth and set with the finest china and crystal and an arrangement of fresh flowers and evergreens.  Children sat around card tables, also covered with a tablecloth. Platters of sliced turkey and cornbread dressing and bowls filled with vegetables and salads were placed on the dining table where the adults sat.  Dad’s blessing included gratitude for Jesus, our family, and the food.  Then we children stood at the corners of the dining room table and filled our plates as the food was passed.  Mom and her sisters served their best desserts: sugar plum pudding, chocolate cream pie, and apple stack cake. 

            I want to carry the love and my memories of Christmases past to Christmas present.  When my Grands decorate cookie angels and Christmas trees, sticky icing and sprinkles will coat my kitchen counter.  When gifts are opened and paper and ribbon clutter the floor, I want my Grands to know the love I felt. When our traditional breakfast is served, Son and Daughter will tell their children that they always ate country ham and angel biscuits and strawberry jam on Christmas morning.  

            Christmas isn’t about lists and tasks, it’s about people and sharing love.  May we all enjoy Christmas preparations and activities, and make memories that will be cherished.####

Let Children Give

A young fifth grade student knows his teacher well.  Mrs. R calls him a rough tough boy and she shared this story.  Their school gives money and a shopping trip to children who wouldn’t have money and an opportunity to shop.  This little guy asked Mrs. R, “What do you want for Christmas?” She answered,

“For you to work hard!”

            That wasn’t what he had in mind.  “I’m going shopping and I have SO MUCH money and I want to get you something,” he said.  Mrs. R thanked him with a big hug and told him he didn’t need to get her a gift.  “I’m still going to get you lipstick or perfrume (his word) because they’re what you love,” he said.

            Mrs. R, a teacher for twenty years, wears perfume and bright colored lipstick.  And this rough tough guy wants to give her something he knows she’ll like.  Not because he has to, not because his mother told him to take a gift to his teacher, not because his teacher asked for a gift.  Because he wants to.  I hope he finds the brightest red lipstick ever and I know Mrs. R will wear it.  And if he gives the cheapest sweet-smelling perfume, she’ll wear it too, at least a few times. And that rough tough boy will probably work harder when she does.

            Mrs. R’s story took me back to my classroom where elementary age children brought me Christmas gifts for twenty-five years.  I appreciated every gift, but the ones that touched my heart were the ones that children chose.  Like the small ceramic hummingbird that sits in the window over my kitchen sink.  When David’s mother picked him up after school that Christmas party day, she made sure he didn’t hear her as she apologized for such a small gift and said he wouldn’t bring the gift she’d chosen.  David chose the perfect gift.

            My Christmas tree has a small flock of birds: cardinals, a blue jay, doves, partridges.  All gifts from students.   Brooke handed me a beautifully store-wrapped gift and said, “Momma said you had better like these.  They cost a lot of money!”  Inside were two green partridges which hang with other birds at eye level on my Christmas tree where I see them every morning as I sit and drink coffee and enjoy quiet time.

            My sweaters were often decorated with pins, scatter pins of all kinds.  Best teacher.  Santa with rhinestone eyes.  Angels with gold wings.  Gifts that students chose and when I wore them, the givers stood straighter, work harder, smiled more.

            I also remember gifts I really liked, but left the giver uncertain.  Gift certificates that were just a piece of paper.  Banana bread that the giver didn’t like.  A glass pie plate.

            During this Christmas shopping season, let children choose the gifts they give.  Let them know the joy, the excitement of watching someone open what they chose.  Let them smile when someone hugs and says thank you.  Let them give.

Memories of Christmas 1991

Three Christmas gifts remained unopened. Gifts Mom began for her grandchildren, my daughter, son, and niece, but didn’t finish. A sudden heart attack had ended her life in April.

Six months later, Dad sold their home and moved into a one-bedroom apartment. This Christmas was even sadder as our family sat cramped in a small living room – so different from Mom and Dad’s home.

Dad looked at his grandchildren and said, “Those gifts are for you from your grannie.” My brother and I and our spouses sat nearby. Alicia and Sarah, age 17, and Eric, age 15, frowned. “She was making something special for you this Christmas,” said Dad. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

I said, “It’s three almost identical gifts.”

“It’s something you can use now, and Grannie hoped you’d keep and maybe even pass it on to your kids,” said Dad.

“How do we know which gift is ours?” asked Eric.

“By numbers. The way Grannie always did. Susan has folded papers numbered 1, 2, 3, and the packages have numbers on them,” Dad explained.

Alicia, Sarah, and Eric held their gifts. Silence filled the room. After quickly ripping into other packages, now they were silent and still on the floor beside Dad’s chair. “Go ahead, open them,” Dad said.

They paced themselves to see their gifts at the same time. “A quilt!” Sarah and Alicia said in unison. Eric stood and wrapped his quilt around his shoulders. The girls did the same, hugging their quilts close to their bodies.

“I love it!” Sarah said, “But Grannie always said that she’d never make a quilt.” She pulled her white and navy blue patchwork quilt tighter.

“But she made clothes and stuffed animals,” Alicia said. “Our quilts are exactly the same,” she said to Sarah. Alicia looked at Eric’s quilt. “Yours is the same, except dark red where ours is blue.” Each quilt had white rectangles and calico fabric.

“Grannie made lots of stuff, but this is the best,” Eric said. Alicia, Eric, and Sarah sat wrapped in their quilts. No one spoke. We wiped tears and breathed deeply.

Dad rubbed his eyes, then said, “Grannie wanted you to have something you’d keep. You’ll be going off to college soon. You can take your quilts. She began cutting and sewing about two years ago. She was determined to finish them for this Christmas, but…” Dad’s voice faltered.

I continued. “She’d finished one, was quilting the second, and had pieced the third. Dad and I found a woman, Mrs. Horst, to finish them.”

“Aunt Susan, do you know which one Grannie really made?” asked Sarah.

“I’ll answer that,” said Dad. “She made them all. That wonderful lady stitched for your grannie. We were led up the dirt road to her house. She’s a godly woman. She told me she said prayers of blessings as she quilted and hoped to make such beautiful quilts for her children.”

Mom’s quilts covered beds in college dormitory rooms and then apartments when each of her grandchildren married. And now they are on great-grandsons’ beds.

Mom’s quilts were gifts to keep.