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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Patience (08/21/08)

TITLE: Cover It Up
By Fiona Dorothy Stevenson


Gnarled and bent fingers tugged gently at soft, creamy wool. The loosened thread was carefully rolled back onto the ball. Row by row, the baby blanket spread across the bed grew smaller. As she pulled, the old woman mused with a half smile, “How many times have I warned learners to count their stitches every four or five rows – and here I am having to pull back twenty-two rows because I neglected to follow my own advice! Dear Lord, how many times have I had to go back and make things right because I neglected to follow your word?”

Betty was with her when she found the mistake. Betty took the rug from her grandmother’s hands and spread it flat on the carpet exclaiming, “Granny, how lovely! And you’re getting on so well. It won’t be long before you’re ready to embroider. Have you chosen what you will do?”

As her grandmother laughed, “Wait and see, my girl,” her eye caught the inconsistency near the edge of the fabric. She knelt for a closer look. Her eyes filled with tears and she added, “Not so well, Betty. I shall have to pull it back.”

Betty heard the unshed tears, knelt beside her grandmother. “Where, Gran?” She put her arm around the bent shoulders. “It hardly shows, Granny. You could cover it up. No-one would know.”

Sitting back with a watery smile, giving Betty a warm hug, the old woman said, “No-one but me, and you, and most importantly, the Lord. No, I shall pull it back and do it again. You’ve still got five months, haven’t you? Ample time.” She held the girl away with a now triumphant smile. “You hardly show, you know. Are you sure you’re eating enough for both of you?”

It was Betty’s turn to laugh. “Goose! You are an ‘old wife’ aren’t you, with your tales. I am following the recommended diet to make sure I have all the right building blocks for the baby, but I certainly don’t need to eat enough for two!” She helped her grandmother to her feet. “See you next week, Gran. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

So she pulled and rolled until she had taken back over a third of the fabric. Setting up again in her favorite corner, she fetched herself a cup of tea and put a CD on to play while she worked. The music was a soothing background to her busy hands. Her thoughts spiraled up. “Thank you, Father, for your help and the time you have given me to get this done.” She thought of Jeremiah visiting the potter’s house. She saw the potter sitting at his wheel, hands molding the turning clay into a vessel for ordinary, everyday use. His fingers felt an inconsistency. The wheel stopped. He removed the clay, picked out the tiny fragment; washed the clay again, his fingers kneading, squeezing, kneading, until he was satisfied the clay was pure. He placed it back on the wheel, started again. It might be just an ordinary pot, for everyday use, but he potter would make it perfect, and beautiful.

Through the following weeks and months she sat for periods of two and three hours, working with hook or needle and many colored threads. A teddy danced among ribbons, flowers, butterflies. She spread it on the bed, wrong side up. The work was neat, properly finished. She patted it, well satisfied, and turned it right side up. Just right for boy or girl.

Wrapped in tissue, tied and tasseled, it lay on the worktable, waiting the call. The calendar indicated that the day was close.

The call came. Betty looked up, flushed and happy, as her grandmother came into the ward. They exchanged kisses and parcels. Granny looked at the wrinkled face, the rosebud mouth. Betty pulled at ribbons, tore the tissue, shook out the rug. “Oh, Gran! This is magnificent!” Gran’s eyes didn’t leave the tiny face. “What are you going to call her, Betty?”

“Patience, darling. Her name is Patience, just like her Great-Granny.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Yvette Roelofse08/28/08
A truly beautiful story; very well crafted :)
Anita van der Elst08/28/08
This story brought a little catch in my throat. You touched my emotions.
Jan Ackerson 08/29/08
Love your first paragraph, and this is a warm and engaging story.

At times the dialogue seemed a bit stilted, not quite realistic.

Nice portrayal of a lovely relationship across generations.
Marlene Austin08/29/08
Lovely story, very well-written.:)
Patty Wysong09/03/08
Such a sweet story--with a lesson tucked in for us, too. Enjoyable!
Karlene Jacobsen09/03/08
WOOOWWWW! Amazing! I felt as though I was Betty with my gran. Your word pictures are like wrapping in a quilt and sitting next to a roaring fire with hot cocoa.
Karlene Jacobsen09/03/08
Oh yeah, I forgot something. The part where Gran says "No one but me and you, and most importantly the Lord," is so true in all of life. Others may not see, but the Lord does-whether it be pleasing to Him or not.