I got my “0-100mph” tendencies from my mom. I’m positive about that. When you find something you love to do, you do the shit out of it. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes to do it or if the end result is only beautiful to you. (Well, actually it does a tiny amount, but you don’t let on that you care and you just keep doing it.) Of course, softball is the most obvious example in my life of my doing something single mindedly for hours, days and years. I also had bouts of passion…err obsession…with bowling, juicing, photography, veganism, gardening, body building and classic car restoration just to name a few of the runners-up, but nothing could hold a candle to the dedication I gave to softball. Mom’s softball was crochet. She would sit for hours on end twisting and turning that hook over and under string with no need to even look at her work. She could crochet while watching television, while acting as the navigator on family road trips, while cheering through every sports season and while carrying on a conversation with the phone wedged between her ear and shoulder. There really seemed to be nothing out of her reach when it came to projects either. Pot holders, blankets, bucket hats bedazzled with the aluminum can logos of Pepsi or Coors, ordinary dish towels converted to dish towels that could be buttoned onto the refrigerator handle, vests and ponchos my sister and I begrudgingly wore to grade school, they were all in her repertoire and collection. Our house was her gallery of knotted string. Our bodies her mobile canvas. But the project that reminds me most about mom’s love of crochet and that compels me to write about it on Christmas day, are the ornaments.
She kept things simple so she could knock out massive quantities of those little wreaths and stockings. Solid Red or green for the wreaths with just a splash of sequin bling in the opposite color and the stockings woven with blended yarn that made its way along the color spectrum from white to either dark green or red. When she finally completed the last stitch, there were enough to cover every linear inch of the moulding that framed the ceilings in the living room, family room and hallways, and to adorn every branch of our 6 foot Christmas tree. Mom’s art was the focal point of our holiday decorating for as long as I can remember. Even today, her handmade ornaments live on, traveling safely in boxes and bins to whatever destinations my sister and I call home and making an appearance every Christmas, reminding us that Mom is still with us.