Will You Wear Purple Now?

I stopped making big bedspread size works years ago.  I would find the colors I liked, or that I thought a friend/loved one would like.  Then I would spend months crochet or knit it together.  When done, everyone seemed under-whelmed.

Yes, they were grateful, but the darn thing had exhausted me from completing (or even wanting to complete) other projects.  They would also end up so heavy that no one could even lift them up on the bed to use.

star-magnolia-2083798_640(note: it’s a lot easier to paint than to crochet)

I made an outstanding cream-colored chenille spread with two huge, beautiful magnolia centerpieces in it.  She loved it.  She spread it out on her bed.  She never slept in the bed (she has been a TV-Couch sleeper most of her life – need that background noise – yuck.).  Then the beautiful piece of work was destroyed in our fire which was about four years after I completed it.  I cried (ok for more than the missing blanket, but you get my drift.).

We still have a smaller throw that I made out of awesome fall colors.  Got lucky with that one because she had it and a couple of smaller lapghans stored away in a container.  They did not get the fire, the heat, or the smoke.  However, those are STILL stored away.

My mother shared something with me before she died which I will never forget.  It is called Warning by Jenny Joseph:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

warningpurple

This is a great little poem.  Then I asked mom why she loved it so much.  She went on to tell me that when she gets old, she wants to wear purple because she had always been raised to do the “traditional” stuff:

  • Only use the good silverware for the holidays.
  • Only use the good china for the holidays.
  • Do not take out or use the handmade table covers unless it is the holidays or a very special occasion (it was allowed at Confirmation and Graduation).

When she got older, she still carried that poem around with her.  One day we were discussing it.  She had been very sick all year (cancer), and we were doing a bit of reminiscing.  She told me that she wished we had used the above things much more often.  She said it was stupid to keep such great items of family hidden away – she was right.

She passed away never knowing our little farm or her great-grandsons.  I do think that she is smiling – maybe laughing – at us now.  We do not hide any of the good stuff (except my sister’s tiny obsession with keeping my creations for her private?  Maybe she secretly hates them but is scared to tell me?).  We lost her original silverware set in the fire, but got lucky and found the same pieces in an antique shop (at a great price too – yeah!).  We use it as our everyday ware now.

Maybe the fire was a great eye-opener for “wearing purple?”  We held fifty plus years of precious items in our home.  Many of those items were packed away, waiting for some prize moment that never came.  Now, we don’t have them to share with anyone over anything.

So, my gift to you today is to:

  • Drag it all out.
  • USE IT NOW!
  • Let it get stained, dirty, old, worn, and yes – let it get broken.
  • Share it with love – don’t hide it.

Because you never know when it will be gone.

empty bench

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