"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sun-Faded; Spending Treasure

"Oh, Mama! It’s beautiful!" I exclaimed when she showed me what she had been knitting.

It was my favorite color: Kelley Green; and it had little white buttons on it with colorful animals protruding on the face of the button. It was made with a nice thick skein of yarn and it was warm. Best of all, my mom made it; just for me.

I really don’t remember the occasion. Not sure if it was a Christmas present, a birthday present, or just because.

What I do remember is that it was my favorite sweater; probably my most treasured piece of clothing in general.

Remember the old saying: “We do not remember days; we remember moments.” Well, I find that saying to become more and more factual, the older I get. The memories fade a bit more and more as time passes. In the end, it is really only a "moment" that one remembers. It's the highlight, the shiniest part, the part that touches most deeply that sticks in ones mind. All the rest is forgotten; it is only the lesson, the tragedy, or the sunny part that one really holds on to - simply, a moment.

Well, I have a visual in my head regarding that cherished article of clothing. I can still see in my mind’s eye, that bright green sweater draped over the cow’s wooden feeding trough at my grandparents' ranch.

We had made a visit to the land north to visit my paternal grandparents. I don’t really recall if this was one of our weekly stays with Grandma and Grandpa, or just a week-end visit. I know I was playing in my favorite playground – the barnyard and pastures at my grandparent’s ranch. Oh, how I loved playing there! I could let my imagination run away with me, as I used every building there – the chicken coop, the milking barn, the hay loft, the style over the fence to the orchard, all of it – as part of my adventure.

It was sunny on this particular day and I had gotten too warm. I took off my sweater and laid it on the old trough. Grandpa wasn’t using this trough any more, and I’m sure I had no thoughts that anything might happen to it when I laid it there and continued in my play. I remember Grandpa calling me to the barn for some reason. I don’t remember why. But there my sweater stayed, forgotten, for the rest of the day.
I’m not sure when I next missed my beautiful green sweater. I don’t remember anymore about it. I only hold the memory of knowing that when it was found it had been sun-faded to a dull yellow. It must have been a while before Grandpa or Grandma found it laying there on the trough. As I said, Grandpa wasn’t using this trough any more, and it was far enough away from the barn that it probably took awhile for him to even see that it was there.

My mom loves to tell this story. I have heard her repeat it a number of times. I always thought her telling it, was out of understanding my great loss. Yes! For a 6 year old, loosing my favorite sweater was a great loss! It was only yesterday, as we had coffee with family, that I understood the real reason this is one of the stories my mom, like me, often reminisces.

We were talking about knitting with my cousin and sister, and mom paused a moment to relay the time that "Jannie left her newly hand-knitted sweater lying in the sun at Grandpa’s ranch".
“Mom, I didn’t do it on purpose!” I laughed as I said it, trying to inform the rest of the group at the table as much as I was trying to remind her. “I LOVED that sweater! It was my favorite!”

“Oh, I know.” She laughed too, as she said it. “But it was the very first sweater I had ever knitted and you couldn’t wear it anymore after that because it was so faded.”

Who knew? I guess mama had her own reasons for holding on to that moment and loving that little green sweater as much as I did.  I’m pretty sure this is one of those moments that will never fade…for either of us.

Black Land Farmer

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