The Birdbath Quilt

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“Hi everyone,” Carole said as she and Freddie , arms linked, walked into the room. “Boy! It sure feels good to be back. I really missed our quilting sessions,” she said as she walked over and gave each of us a hug.

“”We missed you, too,” Loretta responded. “And, as a ‘welcome back’ gift, I have some freshly baked gingerbread which I took out of the oven about half an hour ago. Would you like a slice?”

“Would I? Loretta, you know I’d never pass up any of your baking!”

As Carole and the others settled themselves with some gingerbread and a cup of coffee, Carole looked around and said, “Well, I guess you’ll be wanting to know what I’ve been up to this morning, and when I tell you, I suspect you’ll be as surprised as I am.

“Before I arrived here, Mom and I visited Lorne Jackson’s Birder’s Nest to ask him about the type of binoculars recommended for a first time birder a.k.a. my mother.”

“Birder? Your mother?” we all gasped.

Janice looked shocked as she replied, ‘But what about Edna’s long-time interest in quilting?”

“As you know, part of the frustration my mom has had with rehab was the knowledge that no matter how much encouragement she’s had from her wonderful rehab team, deep down she knows she will never regain that energy or the fine dexterity she once had for fabric piecing and quilting.”

“But what caused your mother to take a sudden interest in birding?” asked Jean MacIver.

“Ah, this is where the story suddenly becomes very interesting. My mother has met a man.”

“A man? “Wow! This sounds intriguing. Who?” asked Freddie excitedly.

“His name is Tony Badowski. He’s a retired landscape architect and has recently moved into one of the Oak Crest retirement bungalows a couple of doors away from my mom. My mom noticed him one afternoon as she sat on her patio. She told me she’d been observing him as he strolled about scrutinizing the gardens. Frequently, he would stop, take a photo and jot down some notes. Curious, my mother walked over, introduced herself and asked what he was doing. That’s how she discovered his name and previous career. He told her that the gardens here were beautiful but other than their aesthetic appearance, these ‘institutional plantings’ (as he called them), did little to attract birds, butterflies and other forms of wildlife. Tony told her that he had noticed on the clubhouse bulletin board the up-coming meeting reminding all residents who had projects in mind for next year to bring their ideas to this very important get-together.”

“And what was his idea?” asked Loretta.

“A combined birdbath and fountain,” Carole replied. “But that’s not all. My mother asked if you would be free to attend the meeting because she thinks that if you could propose making a birdbath quilt to auction off , the project would generate more interest among the residents when they realize the town of Somewhere would like to help out.” At this point, Carole looked at her friends with some embarrassment.

Janice, seeing Carole’s discomfiture, spoke up. “Well, I for one, would whole-heartedly support this project. Anything to get your mom more interested in life again.”

“And not just in developing a new hobby, but also offering some ideas regarding the design and layout of the quilt,” suggested Loretta enthusiastically.

“You can count me in,” said Jean.

“Me, too,” agreed Freddie.

Carole breathed a big sigh of relief. “Thanks, everyone. Besides,” she grinned,“ I knew all along you’d support this project.”

And we all laughed.


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In 1995 I began a series of stories titled The Recorded Adventures of the Birds of a Feather Quilting Bee. A couple of these were published in The Canadian Quilter. Several stories were published in the discontinued Canada Quilts and many more of these quilting short stories were published in Canadian Stories.
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