Covid Project: Crochet

No one expected that we would still be wearing masks, socially distancing and ordering groceries from the internet almost a year and a half later, but so we are. The situation is lamentable indeed, especially for single moms juggling jobs and in-home schooling and for widows and widowers unable to meet with friends. So we have become couch potatoes, computer-dependent, and telephone haunters. I became a Netflix and You tube dependent. I was feeling frustrated and guilty as I watched my neighbours riding bikes, taking hikes and generally being creative. I had to accomplish something.

I first ordered a kalimba for myself, hoping that I could learn to play it. I learned to play the first line of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and the scales, but the music book I ordered was such small print and so confusing, I lost heart. I haven’t given it up, just put it aside for a time. Next I got out my yarn and began knitting, but there are only so many scarves and afghans a person needs. Besides, my knitting skills seemed to have regressed from lack of practice. I decided rather to teach myself to crochet.

My first efforts were funny little abstract shapes that ended up in my dish cloth pile. They make very good scrubbers. I discovered that all of my attempts to make a square ended up curling upwards. Finally, I decided to go with the flow and make something round. That is when I discovered that I could crochet a fair tam or beret. When I described my dilemma to a friend, she said that she knew my problem and as soon as we are able to congregate she will show me the secret of a crochet square. In the meantime, my family members may all get berets for Christmas.

The Cricket

cricket

The Cricket

©2020 Mollie Pearce McKibbon

 
A cricket beneath my window sill
Is singing all day long.
If I only knew the creature’s words
I’d join his chirping song.

Is he singing of the furnace sun
Burnishing summer’s fields,
Or crooning to a cricket lover
His passionate appeals?

 

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Mom-speak

My grandson graduated from high school this June and after the ceremony we went to celebrate at a Japanese restaurant. While we were there my grandson dropped a bit of soup on his tie and was anxious that he would not be able to clean it off. My son, attempted to reassure him by quoting my mom, “oh, a man on horseback won’t see it.” It was surprising to me to hear him say something so like his grandmother and I marvel at how strong her influence still is in our family.

My mother, Elizabeth, was born and grew up in St. John’s Newfoundland. When I was small I didn’t notice that she had a different accent than my friend’s mothers. I didn’t realize that the vivid expressions she used were unusual. She was Mom and she could make delicious snow pudding and Spanish cream and could whip up a gown for a bride doll overnight. Mom loved company and had friends over for tea or dinner parties without hesitation. She had married a naval officer and was ready to pack up our household to move every two years across Canada if necessary. Mom was always making new friends and found something to love about each province. However, most of all she loved Newfoundland and when my sister and I toured that beautiful province many years ago we realized how much she must have loved my dad to have moved away from that “smiling land”.

Mom’s expressions were a mix of Newfie and Nova Scotian, as her parents came from there. Many times I heard her say as she looked in a mirror on a hectic day, “Oh, I look like Frightened Isaac’s wife!” When I asked her what it meant, she laughed and told me in the town where her mother grew up there was a man who had hair that always looked like he’d put his finger in an electric socket. The family had nick-named him privately Frightened Isaac. Whenever they were having a bad-hair day they said that they looked the way they imagined his wife must look.

Mom’s expressions owed a great deal to the Irish population in Newfoundland. Her parents had an old friend Mrs. Bently who dropped in to visit and help around the house. One day, “Bent” was ironing some handkerchiefs and she picked up one particularly dainty one and said, ” One puff and it’s out the narrows.”

If someone was standing in Mom’s way she would say “my goodness, you make a better door than a window.” If we were walking on either side of a pillar or other obstruction, she would say, “bread and butter” as it was supposed to be bad luck if you didn’t. If I asked my mother’s opinion of two outfits or two of anything, she would reply, “it’s six to one and half a dozen to the other.” In other words both were just fine.

When Mom took us out to a restaurant her favourite saying was “don’t spare the horses” which meant don’t worry about the price, just order what we wanted. A large, generous proportion of any kind of food merited her declaring it to be “flaithiulach” (pronounced flahoolic) which in Irish means ” a princely amount”. On our way home she would say “Home, Jeeves” to whoever was driving.

A shopping spree or a week of social engagements meant we had been “gallivanting” all over the town. If Mom was worried about something or excited she would declare that she was “on tenterhooks” which I only now found out referred to the hooks that cloth manufactures would use to stretch out material.

My favourite trip with my mother was crossing Canada on the Silver and Blue passenger train. We had a wonderful, nostalgic trip out to British Columbia with the purpose of visiting my sister and her husband. Mom was worried about staying longer than three days as she said “guests and fish begin to smell after three days”. Well, I soon changed her mind about crossing Canada just to spend three days with my sister who hadn’t seen us for three years.

Mom had so many favourite words and phrases that there isn’t room for all of them or time, but I will leave you with this funny little verse she would often quote.

“We are all like ships at sea. We all have holes in our bottoms and are likely to sink.” Now what do you think that meant?

Comfort in Covid Times

Moccasins/Slippers made in Aklavik, NWT.

My office has two outer walls and it gets frigid in the winter, so tonight as I sat shivering in my hockey jersey and regular slippers, I remembered that my mother had slippers made when we lived up in Aklavik. I remembered that they had deer hide and fur. I also remembered that I had put them in my cedar chest. They would be just the right addition to my already bizarre outfit. However, no one really cares what they look like when they are cold. Hence the snazzy beaded moccasins that are just the perfect fit and comfort. I would say that these moccasins are by far the smartest looking item in my wardrobe right now. There is a lovely warm fur (sorry animal rights people) trim around my ankles and below that more beading. They have colour coordinated wool tassels that hug my feet and they are accentuated by the gorgeous beaded panel that you see in the picture above. Thank you to the Inuit or Dene seamstress who fashioned them from my mother’s foot tracing. And thank you to Mom who passed them on to me.

So here I sit in splendid comfort typing these words on my computer, the first blog entry I have made in some months. It also brings to mind all the other little comforts we allow ourselves in this time of stressful living. Last week I made meatloaf for supper – a treat I remember my mom making years ago. I throw every leftover I can into my meatloaf and it does taste delicious, I must say. I spend a lot of time playing word games when I am not writing Sunday messages and bits of my on-going novel. I love Scrabble of course, and Wordsee, Word Search and crosswords. I have read all kinds of mystery novels and we watch British television mysteries to the point where my husband says that we should write the sergeant’s exam. I spend a great deal of time on Pinterest where I have two accounts, one so full that I cannot add any more to it unless I delete a lot of items first. And of course I knit or crochet while watching television. Neither of these pastimes will win any blue ribbons but they soothe my rattled nerves.

Last fall I indulged a dream of mine to learn to play an instrument, in this case an African “thumb piano” which I bought online and the book of music to go with it. So far my family has identified my awkward attempts as “The House of the Rising Sun” so I guess I am making some progress. So what I would love to know is what you are doing to fill your time. Have you gone hiking, taken up snow shoeing, learned a new language or begun to write a novel? Also, do you have any idea what I can do with several slightly wonky crocheted berets? My relatives are all “bereted out” or should that be “beretted “out?

Follow Me

Follow Me and fish for people;
 Follow Me and serve the Lord.
 Though the day be long and weary
 With God’s pow’r you’ll be restored.
 

 Follow Me and tell My story;
 Follow Me and find the strayed.
 Roads I travel lead to glory;
 For each soul I’ve fully paid.
 

 Follow Me and feed the hungry;
 Follow Me and clothe the poor.
 Use your hands and heart for others;
 As you serve you’ll know me more.
 

 Follow Me and serve My Father;
 Follow Me and find the lost.
 Ev’ry soul is worth the searching;
 Ev’ry soul is worth the cost.

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