US: The Magic Blanket

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I have a blanket. It is actually a quilt, which, I suppose, is a sub-species in the blanket family. It was hand made by my grandmother on my dad's side, a person I always knew as Grandmother Colle. Not grandma or gramma or grannie or some other wacky name based off the poor pronunciation skills of an infant. Grandmother. What is odd about that is the woman who demanded that name was not formal by any stretch of the imagination. She was funny, cheated at cards and made every grandchild feel like they were her absolute favorite (to which we all say as an aside, “But I actually was her favorite”). She has been gone from us for several years but one thing she left for me was that blanket. She presented it to me my senior year of high school in 1977. It is big, six feet by five feet, solid tan across the back and the front has multiple 5” x 5” squares of different material. And it is laced with magic.

I took that quilt to college and it was part of my trousseau when I married Hope. It has survived a couple of dogs and three kids with only a few busted seams. After multiple washings, Hope had to add some blue yarn to keep the centers of each square tied down, but the splash of color adds some character. The quilt will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which makes no sense but is a truth that can be attested to by anyone who has made contact with it. It has wrapped our children through naps, pity parties and time outs as well as hours of Winnie the Pooh, Barney and Power Rangers. There is no way to count the number of people who have curled up under that blanket and found themselves fighting a need for a nap. To this day the kids fight over who gets to use it while watching TV when they drop in for a visit. And it is the default choice when Hope watches her junk television shows (which grandmother would most certainly approve of).

I have no doubt that the kids have already discussed who will get grandmother's quilt when Hope and I are gone, even more so than the china or sterling silver place settings. It seems a little odd to hold some random material stitched together a long time ago in such high esteem but I think it has something to do with the fact that it represents a constant in our lives. It has been with us from the beginning and has not lost any of its appeal. My kids have no recollection of my grandmother. They don't, like me, look at buttered toast and have an urge to dip it in super sweet coffee or see a bottle of Barq's root beer and immediately think of boiled shrimp. But they feel a bond with her because she made their dad a blanket that has survived, like us, and is as much a part of our family as our last name. I'm pretty sure the magic woven into that quilt was love. 

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