All Sorts

Tomorrow is Thursday and that’s Carding Chronicle day around here.

This week, I’m finishing up the story I started last week. This is also an excerpt from the next Carding novel, tentatively called Lights in Water, Dancing, and it will be out later this year.

It seems that the Reverend Gordon Lloyd needs a friend.

wq-quilters

Something’s Happening Here

wq-gandhiEven when people claim they want change, most really don’t. Change is uncomfortable and can make you late for breakfast.

There’s a lot of discomfort floating around in Carding at the moment because people’s views of one another are changing. This Chronicle is part of a continuing story that began in the tale called Dearest Rosie I’ll wind it up next week.

Hope you’re enjoying. Please share the Carding Chronicles with everyone!!!

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Reverend Gordon Lloyd stood still in the doorway that opened behind the altar in Saint John’s Episcopal church, listening for the telltale rustle of another human being in the sanctuary. His lips were pursed, pressed so hard against one another they were nearly bloodless.

Why should I feel this way, he asked himself. I am the priest of this church, this pretty stone and clapboard place in Carding, Vermont.

And yet…

And yet…

The texture of the town was changing. Gordon could feel it stretched taut against itself in ways that were invisible to the eye but not to the heart. The worst part was, he knew the tension had originated in his church, and he wasn’t sure how to stop it.

Like everyone else in town, he’d heard all about the explosion in the Carding Quilt Guild, about the angry words, the accusations, the walkout, the irrevocable split among people who used to call one another friends (or at least friendly acquaintances). The split in the guild had been followed by the demise of the community theater group after the members got into a heated argument about whether to stage Shakespeare’s Richard III in the modern White House or not.

He’d heard about the pink hat flash mob in Cooper’s general store. And now some people were refusing to eat at the Crow Town Bakery after Diana Bennett posted a sign on the front door with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi that read:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

And now here he was, a priest hiding in the shadows of his own church so that he could avoid talking about politics. Gordon Lloyd was so very, very tired of politics.

He had just decided the coast was clear when an urgent whisper reached his ear. “You can see that he’s got to go, can’t you?” It was G.G. Dieppe, choir leader, organist, and, Reverend Lloyd realized with a jolt, the source of the sour feelings now flowing freely through town.

“I mean, inviting a rabbi here to speak during our service. I never heard of such a thing in my life,” the other voice said. “Don’t they have their own places to talk to one another? Why do they have to come here?”

Then he heard the bang of the church’s front door. “To expand your horizons.” Edie Wolfe said in a voice that carried to the rafters. “Heaven knows, you sure could use expanding. Have you seen Reverend Lloyd?”

Gordon caught the hiss of his tongue before it revealed his presence. He wanted to hear G.G’s reply.

“Hmph, imagine you referring to a man of God by his correct title,” G.G. sniffed. “Reverend Lloyd indeed. I thought you were an atheist.”

Gordon smiled as he caught Edie’s familiar chuckle. He’d had a soft spot in his heart for that woman ever since he came to town. When it came to theological jousting, no one came close to Edie Wolfe. As a result of their many discussions over the years, they’d forged a deep respect for one another, and had probably gained a few IQ points in the process.

“I’m here, Edie,” he said, stepping out of the shadows. G.G. and her companion, a mousy woman that the priest didn’t recognize, jumped. “And yes, G.G., I did invite my friend, Rabbi Fradkin, to speak so that we would all be reminded how important it is to respect the religious beliefs of everyone. Even those you call atheists, like Edie.”

He turned to smile at his friend. “How can I help you, Edie?”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK………………………………….

 Thank you for journeying with me to Carding, Vermont. If you subscribe to my website, you’ll find a short story in your inbox every Thursday morning.

If you enjoy the Carding Chronicles, please share them and encourage your friends to subscribe to this website. And please review the Carding novels wherever and whenever you get the chance to talk about books. Your opinion matters more than you can imagine. The more folks who share Carding, the more books I get to write, and the more you get to read.

The Carding novels are (in order of appearance):

The Road Unsalted

Thieves of Fire

The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life

Thank you!

Shades of Emerald

wq-friendship-starLast month, the tensions in our national politic life erupted at a meeting of the Carding Quilt Guild. The disagreement among members of the group was so angry and so loud, several longtime members of the guild left, vowing to start their own group. That event is described in Dearest Rosie.

Well, last night, they celebrated the split at Edie Wolfe’s house with a couple of bottles of malbec and plans for the future.

I made the quilt illustrating this story for my sister a few years back. She’s recently discovered that her dog likes it as much as she does.

Welcome to this week’s Carding Chronicle. Please share it with your friends, colleagues, your dog’s veterinarian, and everyone else you know!

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Nearly gave a low growl when he noticed his human had opened the closet door where she kept the Noise Monster.

“Look, I know you don’t like the vacuum cleaner but we’ve been living together for a number of years now, and it hasn’t bitten you yet,” Edie said as she plugged it in. “Why don’t you take a nap in the sunny spot in my bedroom while I do this. It won’t take long. Just a touch-up.”

The cocker spaniel cast a dark warning glance at the Monster, and then tripped up the stairs, his clicking nails reminding Edie that her dog was due for a manicure. Then she advanced into the living room, moving the head of the cleaner under the chairs and the sofa, humming while she spicked-and-spanned.

This is where the Carding Quilt Guild began, she reminded herself, right here in my living room. And now, after twenty-some-odd years, we’re starting over.

Edie shook her head as she remembered the last angry meeting of the guild she’d helped found. What a sad ending, she thought. But then she shook herself, and was reminded that bad endings often carried the seeds of good beginnings.

A knuckle rap on her back door made her jump a little, and she snapped off the vacuum.

Ruth Goodwin stood on the stoop, her arms filled with so many bags, Edie couldn’t tell what coat her friend was wearing. “You know,” Ruth said as she unburdened herself on Edie’s kitchen table, “I love to sew but I get tired of lugging everything that goes with it.”

Edie laughed. “You say that all the time.”

“Yeah, and I mean it all the time.” Ruth stretched her back. “I still have food in the car. Be right back. Any idea how many are coming?”

“I invited eleven, including us,” Edie said, opening the oven to check on her artichoke dip. “That number fits comfortably in my living room.” She stood up, spoon in hand. “You know, after so many years in a big guild, I’m ready for something smaller.”

“Yeah, me too.” Agnes Findley slipped through the door that Ruth opened. “No muss, no fuss, no show to put on, no bylaws, no committees. I’m ready for that.”

By 6:30, every seat in Edie’s living room was filled. Cloth bags filled with colorful quilts soaked up all the spaces between chairs as the eleven women helped themselves to food and drink. “Ooh, try this malbec,” Cate Elliott said as she filled Ruth’s glass with deep purple wine. “This is really nice.”

“Who made the deviled eggs?” Agnes asked. Christine Tennyson raised her hand, and Agnes turned up her thumbs. “Totally awesome. I love them with horseradish.”

As the chatter and laughter snowballed, a cold shadow hugged the trees on the town green across from Edie’s house. G.G. Dieppe made a careful note of every car in the driveway and on the street. She was glad to see that only eleven people had showed up for the first meeting of the Shades of Emerald Quilt Guild. What a stupid name, she thought. Organizational names should tell you what they are like the Committee to Re-elect the President or the First Baptist Church or the Carding Quilt Guild.

And now I’m the president of the Carding Quilt Guild, G.G. thought with satisfaction. And we are going to run it as it ought to be run. We’ll never miss these traitors one little bit.

“Okay everyone.” Edie raised her hand and the din in her living room melted away. “Get yourselves comfy, and let’s begin, shall we? Did you all get my email?”

“Sure did,” Cate Elliott said as she settled on the couch next to Ruth. “And I love the idea of making and selling quilts with the proceeds going to charity.”

“Where are we going to sell them? Online? Craft shows?” Mae Manning asked. She was the oldest member of the group and, Edie suspected, the one among them most adept at online everything. In another life, Mae would have been a programmer.

“Do we have to choose one or the other?” Ruth asked. “Some of us have been doing craft shows for years and we know the folks that run them, and who attracts the better crowds.”

“I agree with Ruth, we should do both,” Christine said. “Where are we going to donate the money we raise?”

“Should it be a local nonprofit or a national one?” Mae asked.

The chatter rose to the ceiling as the suggestions flowed. Across the street, G.G. shivered in the dark but she was pleased with the chaotic tenor of the sounds floating toward her. She dug her car keys out of her pocket, humming. This guild won’t last the year,G.G. told herself, and when it’s all over, I’ll be the one with the Carding Quilt Guild in my pocket.

“And you will never be a member again, Edie Wolfe,” she said aloud, her words coming out in little puffs of white vapor.

Inside, Edie bathed in the sounds of a coalescing project. Over the years, she’d come to understand that there was nothing that a group of quilters couldn’t organize better than anybody. Quilting was a practical art, and as such, it attracted people with that sort of bent. It wouldn’t take long.

“Okay then, it’s decided,” Agnes said as the chatter subsided. “We’ll pick two craft shows or farmers markets to sell our stuff, and open an online store at the same time.”

“With the proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, at least for our first year,” Ruth said. “Everybody agreed?”

Every head nodded.

“Okay, then let’s see what everybody brought to show off,” Mae said, and the room blossomed with color. “I finally finished that Friendship Star for my sister, and I’m dying to show it off.”

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 Thank you for journeying with me to Carding, Vermont. If you subscribe to my website, you’ll find a short story in your inbox every Thursday morning.

If you enjoy the Carding Chronicles, please share them and encourage your friends to subscribe to this website. And please review the Carding novels wherever and whenever you get the chance to talk about books. Your opinion matters more than you can imagine. The more folks who share Carding, the more books I get to write, and the more you get to read.

The Carding novels are (in order of appearance):

The Road Unsalted

Thieves of Fire

The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life

Thank you!

Friendship Star

A few years ago, I made this Friendship Star variation for my sister, Heidi. She sent me a picture recently of the quilt, which is normally on her bed, nested on her dog’s bed. Seems that Jack likes it as much as she does.

This is the illustration for tomorrow’s Carding Chronicle as I continue the story of the split in the town’s quilt guild started in Dearest Rosie.

Enjoy and please share this post with all of your friends. The more the merrier, eh?

wq-friendship-star

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.