I had a dream last night.
I’m not sure about the why of the dream. Maybe because I’m feeling a mite guilty about shirking this blog. Maybe because I saw “True Grit” on Friday night. Maybe bad pizza.
Now, this wasn’t a nightmare. For instance, she didn’t pack a Colt Dragoon pistol in a cloth bag the way Mattie did.
But she sure talked the way Mattie did … that concise mix of classic, Old West formality that could cut you to the quick before you knew you’d been cut.
“Now, Douglas, I come upon you this night because of a sin of omission on your part.”
“Huh?” I mumbled. “Who the heck is that?”
She stood at the foot of my bed, wearing a wide-brimmed hat like Mattie’s and a heavy brown coat cinched at the waste by a thick leather belt. Oh, she also had long pig tails.
“It’s your Great Aunt Rose, sir, as you well know. From nearby Windsor, Missouri, some 90 miles due east. I’ve not much time … much to do in my life … so I must make this visit a short one. And of course my sincere apologies in advance for that.”
“Uh, that’s okay. But Aunt Rose, you’re so … young. Last I heard – and not to be blunt – you were dead.”
“Perhaps in body but certainly not in spirit. And your point is a moot one. I am here to discuss you, not me nor my physical state. Please, my time here is short. Can we begin?”
“Well, sure. Quick is good. Shoot.”
“It seems that you have commenced a quilting project with much fanfare, public hoopla, self-congratulation and, if I may say, unnecessary apprehension. And yet, Douglas, there it sits in your closet many months later, undone. You have entered the realm of the quilter, taken up the needle, and yet dared to put it down. It is, I must say, a personal disappointment. A personal affront, really.”
“Whoa, Rose, hold on there .…”
“You know me as a quilter, Douglas. You know the quality of my work, you know the very number of quilts that I have created during my long life …”
“Uh, you’re 14 …”
She pointed at me, arrow-like.
“Shush! You also are quite aware of the high standards that the Weaver family has adhered to when working in the fine art and craft of quilting. And yet your work gathers dust in a dark place ….”
“Nah … no dust … it’s in a plastic bag.”
“Why, Douglas, it leaves me to wonder whether your very soul is in some darkened place, a devilish refuge of death and despair where work goes unfinished, your stunted enterprises stacking up like cordwood-gone-to-rot, never to see God’s light of day.”
“Whoa, now you’re overreacting …”
She stood up taller now, arms crossed, eyes narrowing.
“So, we come to my question, Douglas. It is a succinct one, yet one rich in significance to the quilting legacy this fine family holds dear. I want you to consider it fully and soberly. Please know that your answer could mean the difference between salvation or not, especially in the eyes of the multitudes of quilters who are your forebears.”
“Wow … heavy duty, Rose. Okay. I’m ready. Ask …”
“WHEN will you get the damn thing done?!”
And then I woke up.
Now, I’m not one to take dreams too seriously. And rarely do I wake up in a sweat. But I’d put this one right up there with the most interesting.
So, yeah, I guess I’d better get that quilt project done. No UFOs for me, it seems. I’ll admit that the quilt’s unfinished state has left me, well, undone.
But I think I’ll also sew a nice, small, quilted bag as a gift for Rose. You know … as insurance.
In case she returns packing a Colt Dragoon pistol.
Doug Weaver is the manager of book publishing at The Kansas City Star and an occasional contributor to Pickledish.com.