Friday, November 30, 2007

The Prayers of Heathens


I've told y'all the story of how I couldn't knit after my mom died. I couldn't even knit when she was in the process of dying. For, oh, nine months or so, I'd pick something up, knit a couple of stitches, go "meh," and put it down.

[SUMMARY: When good therapy goes bad...]

When I heard a childhood friend was fighting cancer, I decided it was excellent motivation to knit something and finish it. A prayer shawl seemed an appropriate choice, so I purchased some fuzzy suri alpaca from Knit Picks in a cheery blueberry shade and set to work on a simple garter stitch lap blanket on great big needles.

My hands had grown unused to the motions, but I quickly fell into the groove. As its lacy, haloed drape grew, I slipped into the meditative state that can come from gentle repetition.

[SUMMARY: It's the new yoga! *ducking*]

Nancy's condition worsened and I stepped up my efforts.

I finished the prayer shawl. The next day, I got the email she'd died.

[SUMMARY: Timing is everything.%]

The sense of failure was... immense.

Then came the news that Annie's husband's mother had been diagnosed with a cancer of the immune system and she would be starting treatment soon. I felt a little surge of joy§ and sent the prayer shawl to her.

I got a very nice thank you note.

Isn't it funny how one can assume no news is good news?

[SUMMARY: "Never make an assumption. It makes an ass out of you and umption."]

I didn't hear anything more until this Wednesday at Book Club. Annie tells me Hector's mom is deteriorating.#

I'm sad to hear this. I believe I only met her once, but I have a soft spot for sick mothers and I certainly feel for Hector.

But I also have a wildly inappropriate desire to giggle over the Prayer Shawl of Doom. It's pretty clear to me my knitting kills people. I monologued a short play for Dad last night:

"Charles Manson, for crimes against the state and your fellow man, I hereby sentence you to be swaddled by the Prayer Shawl of Doom until dead. May God have mercy on your soul."

[SUMMARY: Oh, why did I choose to use my power of knitting for evil instead of good?]

The moral of this story: never let a heathen pray for you. It confuses the heathen and angers the gods.

Off to San Diego tomorrow, back on Monday, Houston on Tuesday, back on Sunday. Pray for me.††

If you're not a heathen, I mean.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Dad's rainbow socks. It took more than a year to finish the rainbow socks. Then some bimbo he met off looked at his feet one day and snarked, "Do you have another pair just like them at home?" He explained they were lovingly hand-knit by his daughter, she expressed the sentiment to him that she couldn't believe he'd go out dressed like that and he subsequently expressed the sentiment to me, "I believe that's about over."

Bless the man who puts hand-knit socks above sartorial splendour.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Speaking of timing... did I mention only 24 knitting days left until Christmas?

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Hector. Not his real name. Not because I'm trying to protect his anonymity, but because I've lost track of what they call him at home. He's a man of many names.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Not because she was in medical straits, you ghouls, but because the prayer shawl could go to some use.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Jeff Berry, 2007. Jeff and I may be the only two people in the world who actually think that's funny.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Annie also tells me she loves the blanket/shawl and wears it all the time. In all seriousness, that warms my heart beyond the telling of it. How much greater glory can simple craft achieve?

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): And maybe throw in a kind word for Hector's mom while you're at it. Heck, if you only have time for one prayer, make it Hector's mom.

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