A Sure-Enough Seamstress
"OH, Granny, I wish you could help me! I do so want to take my three boys to our class reunion next month. My invitation came yesterday. This year we are going to bring our children and introduce them to our classmates when our names are called." Sheryl Blaine gave a great hopeless sigh as she finished speaking.
"What makes you think you can't take them, my dear? There's plenty of room in your car, and you can make the trip in one day. You can take lunch with you, so there need be no extra expense." Granny's voice was reassuring.
"It isn't that, Granny. The boys all need new suits. They've completely outgrown the ones I made from Bill's old suits which he discarded shortly after we were married."
"Why not let Robert take Richard's, and Richard take Russell's. Perhaps you could get Russel a new one or make him another from a suit of Bill's."
"You make the problem sound so simple, Granny, but the fact is the suits are worn out. Richard's elbow went through his coat sleeve last Sunday, and all of them are beyond being mended any more; and Bill is down to his last suit now; and we haven't the money to buy new clothes, not till crops are harvested this fall." Sheryl's usually cheerful voice ended on a note of despair.
Granny thought a while, then said, "Before I would deprive your classmates of seeing your adorable boys, I'd take them in new overalls."
"Oh, Granny, bless you" but I could never do that. If only I had the material, I would make them each a new suit--coats and all. Can't you just see them, Granny, the three in a row standing smiling before my classmates in suits made just alike of light brown tweed! Can't you see them, Grandma?"
At the mention of brown tweed, a faraway look came in Granny's eyes. It seemed as if a key turned and the door to a past memory opened--a door she had resolutely closed and locked, forever, as she thought, but now it had magically opened.
. . . . . . . .
HE young bride watched eagerly, with candles of delight illuminating her eyes as the peddler displayed the contents of his bag: yards and yards of lace, tablecloths, bedspreads, scarves, beads, trinkets, yard goods, woolen, cotton, and silk, and almost everything alluring there could possibly be. Knowing she had but a few nickels above her "necessity money," which must be kept for food, she turned from all but the lace. Her eyes caressing it wistfully, she asked, "How much is this?"
"That, my lady, is imported lace of rare design and costly, but you may have it--nine yards of it--for but one dollar," answered the peddler suavely, "only one dollar!"
"But I haven't that much. It is lovely lace, though." She visioned it on the little white dresses and petticoats she was making.
"For you, my lady, I'll sell it for seventy-five cents--at a great discount, you understand."
"Put it away," said the young wife, "for I can't afford it. I only have fifty cents." She saw plain little dresses without lace.
The desire to make a sale rose above the peddler's discretion, and he threw the bolt of lace in her lap, saying, "Give me your fifty cents, for you must have the lace, lady. I wouldn't do it for anyone but you."
As he was putting things back in his bag and arranging them in an orderly fashion, he laid out a bulky bundle, the better to arrange things, and she saw it was heavy tweed cloth, light brown, yards and yards of it. How she had longed for a coat last fall made of the same material! Without thinking what she was doing she began fingering the material lovingly, and almost before she realized what was happening, the peddler was gone with her two dollars of "necessity money," and that great huge bolt of wool tweed was in her lap.
Her Jim came then, from the fields, and for the first time she knew how foolish she had been, and burst into tears. "What made me do it, Jim? I can't sew well enough to make a coat. It's almost more than I can do to make baby dresses. What shall I do, Jim?"
His laugh was good to hear, as it rang out buoyantly from his soul, "Never mind, honey, put it away with moth balls in that old cedar chest in the attic, and who knows, perhaps some day one of our posterity will be a sure-enough seamstress and make use of it." He put his arm tenderly about her as he spoke.
. . . . . . . .
RANNY was recalled to the present by Sheryl saying, "No, my pride wouldn't let me take them in overalls." If moths haven't broken in, you won't need to," replied Granny. "My dear, go up to the attic and open that old cedar chest and get that bundle wrapped in newspapers and bring it down to me. It's right on top; you can't miss it. My legs complain about climbing the stairs now."
Sheryl was gone in a flash, and, in almost no time at all, returned with a bundle still securely wrapped in newspapers yellow with age, her eyes illumined with excitement.
"Clip the strings, my dear, and take off the papers, and if moths don't fly out, perhaps you will have a chance to make those tweed suits yet." Granny's eyes were shining, too.
"What do you mean, you blessed Granny?'
"Simply that the cloth in that bundle was stored away three months before your mother was born, and if that chest is moth-proof as your grandpa's mother said it was, the tweed should still be as good as new."
Anticipation and hope made Sheryl's fingers tremble as she removed layer upon layer of paper, till at last the tweed came in sight.
"Oh, Granny, it's beautiful! Just what I'd hoped for!"
"Hold it--single thickness--to the light, child, to see if it is whole," said Granny with a whispered prayer that it would be.
It was--not a sign of being moth-eaten.
"Oh, Gran, do you mean this is mine? And where on earth did you get it?"
"Yes, it is yours, my dear." And Granny told her the story of the peddler and of its purchase.
The two women laughed till the tears came, while Sheryl asked many questions, having Granny tell some parts of the story over again, for the peddler was a unique personality in her mind. Sheryl almost wished she had lived in the days of such interesting characters and of such cheap buying.
With a smile on her face, Sheryl said, "Dear Granny, you are a blessing to me, and a lifesaver at this moment. But I may neglect you for the next week or so while I am so busy sewing, but I shall love you more than ever."
The three weeks following this event were indeed long ones for Granny. Her little great-grandsons--one or more of them--came every day, but she missed Sheryl and the youth and music she always seemed to bring with her. True she ran in a few times, but only for a moment each time when she breathlessly told of the progress in the making of the suits.
Then one evening when Granny was sitting in the contentment of the twilight, she heard the gate click, and looking up, she saw them coming single file up the path: the three little Blaines, then Sheryl, and last of all, Bill. "Oh, Gran, aren't they adorable?" The words brimmed from Sheryl's happy heart. "I wish you could have seen them, standing there in a row, smiling at my classmates. Our class photographer took their picture, and I'll give you one as soon as I get them." A week later as Granny looked at the picture of three handsome little boys in new tweed suits, she said to herself softly, "If only my Jim were here to see them!" She was lost in reverie for a few moments, then smiling reminiscently she continued, "But perhaps he knows that one of our posterity is a 'sure enough seamstress.' "