Friday, May 11, 2012


Since the heart attack I have spent more time thinking about my contribution to the world. In general I am aware of how unhappy a lot of people act, like every moment is an effort, that a smile will cost them a place in a line, that they are all in a rush. In specific, every day I make the effort to engage someone in life - to notice someone's gorgeous boots, hat, blouse, bag; to just say a hello; to offer them a place in line ahead of me. If they smile then that's good. If they chat back, then that's better. If they scowl, keep their head down but accept my offered place at least they can go about their business quicker. So it came to be I was in the chemist getting my treasure chest of meds when a reasonably young woman pushed her way through those waiting for a prescription with her 'elderly' mother in tow. Changes to her mother's medications meant reorganizing her dosage pack and general inconvenience. Her mum was standing just behind her when she barked for mum to listen to the instructions. In the meantime I sat and pulled out a sock I was about to start and 'Mum' came and sat next to me watching every movement of my long tail cast-on, my juggling of 4 dpns, and the jigging of my yarn as I worked. She leaned over to me and whispered 'I have five grandchildren but I can't knit anymore', in a heavily accented voice. I showed her the picture of Chloe in my wallet and she smiled and gestured to my work. 'I used to do two in, two out, two in two out'. I knew instantly that she meant K2P2 rib. She chuckled, 'I made jumpers and socks and hats for my three children'. At this point her daughter snapped at her to leave me alone, but I ignored her and asked about her early motherhood and her grandchildren. She struggled sometimes for the words but we managed. Then her medications were ready and she was gone. Then another woman sat next to me and showed me her heavily arthritic fingers and told me about the shawl with the scotch thistle flower scalloped border she knitted for her grandson, 'But I can't knit anymore because it hurts too much'. Then my meds were ready and I went home. But my new socks have a K2P2 rib, and I'm going to search for that shawl patter, and I'm going to take some knitting everywhere. Not so I get noticed but to hear the stories from the past.

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