Friday, May 07, 2004

Journeyman Effort
I'm no speed demon with my knittin'. I'm happy to log in a few rows a day, snatched here 'n there, that eventually add up to a sweater. So it goes with Neckdown Summer Cardi. I'm about halfway down the body, plugging away:

But I occasionally break out and do something silly and fun! Like this sweet little crocheted motif for a cardigan:

My Mother Was a Childhood Hellion
I love going home for visits. I especially love one-on-one time with my mother. She has that incredible Irish gift for storytelling. It's been passed on to my brother. Ask him about it, but only if you have a spare 6 hours or so.

Each visit nets me another tale or two about the shenanigans my mother got herself into on a regular basis. Make no mistake, my mother has a lust for life that continues unabated to this day. Her adventures as a child were the talk of the neighborhood. She was afraid of nothing. She asked for (and got!) a holster and six-shooter cap gun for Easter when she was 7 or 8 years old. She climbed trees, played with the boys, and cadged cookies from houses in both her and her grandmother's neighborhoods. If she hadn't suffered polio in her early teens and sustained permanent disabilities, I've often thought she'd have given Martha Stewart a run for her money. But I digress.

Mom has a number of stories about her best friend Jeanette and their tag-along friend Joyce, whose dad was allegedly the West Coast Mafia connection for Portland. He was the guy who "got things done" in the neighborhood.

This visit, Mom told me a story about Jeanette's mother, who for many years sewed the habits for the nuns of the local parish, Our Lady of Sorrows (shut up with the Catholic jokes, OK? I know it's a funny name for a church). Jeanette's mom sewed the habits worn by nuns at all stages of their service to the church: postulate, novice, and nun. At any given time, their basement was filled with yards of black wool gabardine in various stages of completion. At the time of this story, all the habits for the upcoming graduating class of novices were completed and hanging in a pristine row in the basement.

My mother got the wild idea that she, Jeanette and Joyce should dress up in the finished habits and parade up and down the main drag in the neighborhood. So Mom and Jeanette donned the unsullied and dignified habits, ran up to the main street that ran through the neighborhood, and proceeded to mug for the passing cars. Mom even flashed a little leg at passing motorists. Joyce didn't participate; she was scared of her own shadow. But she liked tagging along while my mother raised hell.

You'd think they would've stopped there. Oh, no. Not my mom, not by a longshot. They went over to the priory, adjacent to the school. The priory was the residence of the nun's order that taught at Our Lady of Sorrows. Mom marched right up onto the porch and rang the doorbell. Who should answer the door but one of the sternest nuns at Our Lady of Sorrows, the majestic Sister Emerita.

Sr. Emerita took one look at my mother in her stolen habit, leaned her head out the door, glanced left, then right, leveled a penetrating gaze at my mother, and asked, "Is anyone else with you?" Mom's answer tumbled out breathlessly, "Jeanette-and-Joyce-but-Joyce-didn't-have-anything-to-do-with-it!" "Come in here right now," said Sr. Emerita. Mom was then on the receiving end of a long and stern lecture from Sr. Emerita. Obviously, she survived the flaming verbal assault from Sr., since I'm here to tell you about it.

Mom said her biggest regret about the prank was that Jeanette's mother never quite trusted her after that.

Happy Friday, everyone.

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