In the art corridor this month is a charming assortment of works contributed by the Sonoma County Hookers…that’s right…hookers…men and women who hook rugs. Their art renewed my yearning to own one.
So, when I saw in a catalog, a 3′ x 4′ hooked rug of a decorated Christmas tree, I picked up the phone. A “me-to-me” seasonal gift. Anyway, I don’t have space on a horizontal surface for a standing Christmas tree. Last year I lifted my dorky little 3′ tree out of its storage basket, plunked it on the dining table and plugged it in. I eat, sort mail, read books, and make lists at that table and the tree crowded me.
The rug arrived three days ago and I needed a tunnel sewed along the top of the back so I could run a rod through. I don’t sew, but Charlotte Down-the-Walk does. She said, “This is too heavy to do on the machine. It’ll have to be done by hand.” I worried that she’d not do it, but I was wrong. I left it with her, and the next morning about 6:30, she arrived at the front door. “All done,” Charlotte announced and declined my offer to pay. Later, I learned that she has a fund for the quilts she makes for residents on special occasions. I didn’t pay her; I contributed to the fund.
Next I needed a rod or a stick. Looking around, I found a long 3/4″ stick that last summer I’d painted green and used to prop up tomatoes. The tomato plants are now black from freezing; they don’t need sticks any more. When Mary, Ruth, and John came over Monday to play bridge, I asked John if he had a saw I could borrow. He not only said yes, he noticed that I have a small collection of old Santas, and said, “Aaaah, you collect Santas! Would you like an antique paper maché Santa that’s been in my family since before I was born?”
“Yes, I’d love it, especially knowing it’s meant so much to you and your family.” When I walked over to get the saw, he reached the Santa from atop his refrigerator and I carried the treasure back to my Hutch to stand it among others.
After I’d sawed the stick, I called son Sam and he came with his handy power screw driver and wife/partner Sandra. The rug was up in ten minutes, and we sat down to admire the effect. A fine Christmas tree that takes no horizontal space.
This evening I took clippers over to a blue spruce in the corner of a Friends House parking lot and cut a few pieces from the back side of the tree, brought them home, shook the rainwater into the sink, arranged them among the Santas, and added small lights. Poured a glass of white to celebrate.
You can understand that this was a very satisfying project….the the help came from fellow residents and attentive family.
Not through yet, I needed a wreath for the door and remembered Marion’s talking about a group, Starcross Community, over on the coast, who sells fresh ones. I called them.
Here at Friends House, help that has nothing to do with Christmas is just a shout away. You’ve read about Joe who can bail anyone out of a computer problem. He has helped me many times. I don’t even have to take the laptop to him. He makes house-calls. His wife Joan says he likes helping others.
Vera no longer sees well enough to drive so asked if I would drive her to Sebastopol to see a friend who was dying. Of course I would. But by the next morning,when she was ready to go, he had already gone, so we missed saying goodbye.
I’ve mentioned Ruth and her love of butterflies. She is giving away milkweed seeds so next year we will plant them and Friends House might become a resting place during migration. A sort of air b-n-b for monarchs.
When we live in community, help is available from every direction. I don’t sew. Charlotte does. Vera doesn’t drive. I do. Charleen next door needed soda crackers; I had some to share. Joanie has a symphony ticket and won’t be going; another will. Dorothy is blind; Nancy brings her to Marie’s, and Bev reads to all eight of us, sighted or not.
A good way to live.