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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: A Quilt For Sarah
By bill johnson


Most nights, Alfred Green still cries. He keeps a single lantern lit to provide a dim glow and finds a certain comfort in the creaking patterns that persist from the old wooden rocking chair; sounds which he once despised just yesterday, it would seem.

With a frail hand he, once again, grasps tightly the neatly folded quilt draped over the arm of the chair, careful to avoid the needle woven once through the unfinished blanket. Conflicting feelings of both warmth and guilt seem to resonate from this one reminder of his dear Anna. This particular quilt was meant for little Sarah, but due to the unexpected death of this dear quilt maker, Sarah’s quilt remains unfinished.

To a certain group of heavy hearted children, Anna Green was affectionately known as the “quilt lady”, a title she certainly owned with joy. It was a delightful endeavor and not a burden at all, to sew a quilt for every new child at the Hansen Orphanage. Alfred, too, has fond memories of children, though broken inside, beaming with great happiness at the satisfied anticipation built by the other children telling of the great day when the quilt lady would arrive.

“Every quilt is unique, just like you” she would tell each child. There were so many different patterns in each quilt. “There is no other exactly like it in the world”, she would continue, “except for this one square”, pointing to a single green square, always stitched into the corner of each quilt. “Do you know what it says?” she would ask, about the embroidered words on the green square.

“God loves me”, they would respond. Anna loved to hear the children say those words. For her, it was more important that the child remember those words than her kindness.

“That’s right, and He will never leave you. Be comforted, child. Be warm. God loves you.”

But for 8 year old Sarah, her anticipation was met with sadness, as she learned that the quilt lady had become very ill and passed on. For her, there would be no knock on the door, no children gathering at the feet of the quilt lady as she shared of God’s love, no bright smiles as she read the embroidered green square. For this little girl, there would be no quilt.

For many days, Sarah could be found staring out the window, occasionally wiping her damp cheeks as she hoped that her quilt, with the special green square, would somehow arrive.

Alfred had watched Anna stitch squares into quilts so many times, he often considered an attempt to finish Sarah’s quilt. But the sadness of her passing and the comfort of the unfinished quilt, especially on the eve of the 10 years since her death, kept him from so much as unfolding it. He missed her kindness; he missed her love of God, though he always felt that God must not love a man whom he takes from. Tonight, with moist eyes and a sad heart, he will sleep in Anna’s chair.

As the morning light dissolved shadows cast across the old floor timbers, Alfred was awakened by a knock on the door. Using his cane, he slowly made his way to the door. “Who is it?” he said, in an uninviting tone.

“Mr. Green?” a woman’s voice inquired.

“Yes. Who is it I said?”, he responded with greater irritation.

“Mr. Green, my name is Sarah”. The ensuing silence seemed endless. Alfred slowly unlatched the door and pulled it open. “Mr. Green, you may not remember me, but I was 8 years old when I was brought to the orphanage. The quilt lady, sorry, Mrs. Green made lovely quilts for all of the children”, she continued, “I was very sad when she passed, and was not fortunate to receive one”.

Having softened his tone, Alfred replied, “Yes child, I’m very sorry. She was...,”

“Oh no, Mr. Green, it’s fine!” Sarah eagerly interjected, “I just - I brought a gift for you. You see, while I was sad, the other children each unstitched their green squares and sewed them together to make a quilt for me”. A tear fell from Alfred’s eyes. “I wanted to give it to you, now” she said softly. “Do you recall what the green squares say?” she inquired.

“Yes,” he answered with a quivering voice and tears filling his eyes, “God loves me.”

Sarah handed the folded green quilt to Alfred; “Be comforted sir. Be warm. God loves you.”

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This article has been read 547 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Esther Phillips10/29/09
I love this story. I was especially warmed by the lovely ending. I am from a family of quilters so it held special meaning for me. Thanks for writing it.
Charla Diehl 10/29/09
Your title drew me in as I am a quilter too. Loved the message of the green squares as they told of God's love to these orphans. The ending warmed me all over.
Ruth Brown10/29/09
What a wonderful story well done.
Beth B10/29/09
I was touched by your story. Thanks for sharing it. God bless you as you write for Him.
Patricia Protzman10/29/09
I loved your story,brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I, too, am from a quilting family. Very, very well written.
Mary McLeary10/30/09
Thank you for reminding us of how precious kindness is.
Mark Bell10/31/09
that was wonderful. great emotion. great weaving of the sadness from one to the other, all brought together with a message of hope through the things we do not know (the quilt the other kids made). very enjoyable.
Chely Roach11/02/09
Oh my, this was an amazing story that pulled me in and left me satisfied. Great characterization, and well paced. My only red ink would be to brush up on your punctuation, especially around your dialogue. Very minor stuff, but it can be a little distracting. I loved the tender, emotion saturated writing, and I won't be surprised to see you move up through the ranks quite quickly;)
Marc Smith11/05/09
BEAUTIFULLY written. So deserving of a first place finish this week. Excellent job!
Aaron Morrow11/05/09
Great work Bill! Congratulations!