We were just chatting, as we do after church, usually about this and that: Dr. Who, my son in the northeast, herbs and other tidbits of life. Somehow yarn and war came up. Anything can happen when you are talking with Richard.
So off we were on a tangent about yarn and war. He shared that a member of his family was given a hand-knit scarf in World War Two.
Historical Jaw Drop
In. World. War. Two.
And he still has it. Well, that’s not totally true, but that’s another story. Actually, that is this story.
My jaw did it’s historical dropping when he said he still had the scarf. (At that point, he did.)
I asked, my voice shaking with the connection between crocheting for the USA military in the modern here and now and this military memorial from yesteryear, “Would you mind bringing the scarf to church so I could see it in real life? And take a picture of it to share with those in cyber space who are crafting for the military in real time?”
When his email came the next day with attached pictures, I was in awe that right there on the other side of a screen and a camera, with a satellite and a river in between, was an olive green army scarf knit for the Red Cross and given to an American soldier who might have met my daddy in the second world war.
This is my daddy …
And this is the scarf …
As overjoyed as I was at seeing a photo of this real world war scarf, I admit I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see the scarf in real life.
There would have been something pretty amazing about touching the yarn – if he would allow me – feeling the texture of the stitches, the historical threads woven through time and held together in his care.
Family Heirloom Meet Donut-Covered Fingers? Uh No!
I understand why he just emailed me the pics. This was a family heirloom.
Neither would I carry it to church where donut-covered fingers might invade. I was content to hear the story and to see the photo. Truly content. And still in awe that he kept it all these years.
Richard also sent me a link to a modern day re-creation of the pattern that was just like the scarf he owned.
Stunned, I was humbled by its resemblance to the scarf I designed for homeless men a few years ago, simple stitches, simple ribbing, dark colors to blend with the surroundings. Mine was crochet, his was knit, but yarn is yarn and craft is craft.
Full Speed Ahead: Christmas Morning
Speed ahead a week to Christmas Day.
Every year, one of the children “play Santa” and hand out the presents at way-too-early-in-the-morning o’clock.
My daughter handed me my first gift – it was a good year to be the mama!
“This was delivered by reindeer. I had a small part in getting it to you, but it’s from someone whose name begins with R and ends with D.”
After a few blurry brain attempts at spelling in the wee hours, I realized who it was from. Richard. Richard gave me a gift?
Uh oh, I had given him a hand-crocheted weeping angel ornament for Christmas,
so what bizarre alien form might he give me?
If it is was the Silence, I may not remember after I open it. (Dr. Who fans won’t have to google that. )
But when opened his gift, I thought through my tears: Oh I will remember this. I will remember. How could I ever forget?
I Could Barely Breathe
Inside an expertly wrapped Trader Joe’s bag was a box. In the box, was … I know you know this, but I truly had no idea it would ever be … the scarf.
The original World War Two scarf.
I could barely breathe.
I couldn’t answer my family’s questions: What is it? What did he give you?
And I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing when I read his note entrusting the scarf to my care.
To. My. Care.
From World War Two.
With the Red Cross tag still attached.
Inspiration from a World (War) Afar Off
Wordless, (I know, me, right?) I still haven’t found a way to let him know how I felt Christmas morning, how I will always treasure his gift.
And how it inspires me to keep serving our American military through the USO … with yarn.
And how it encourages me to keep sharing ideas to help you, the readers, the yarners, the crafters to keep creating works of love for those in harm’s way, who sacrifice so much of their lives so we can live ours.
Treasures: Caring for Others in a Fallen World
Just think, in 50 years, someone may be talking to someone at church about herbs and aliens, yarn and war and one of those someones may have one of the gifts YOU made for their family.
Something that they treasured because you treasured them.
The joy of caring for others in a fallen world goes on.