Wednesday, May 10, 2017


(Note: If you're new to this wonderful fictional group of quilters, read the first five installments by clicking on the 'We're Still Kicking Quilters' in the side panel.)

Wanda Kay lives in a quiet community full of homes built around the end of the second World War with giant trees filling the yards. Most of the homes were small, some had been added to, others not. Wanda Kay's home was one that was left the same size.

She and her husband David wanted to save the space for a giant garden. And for years, the majority of the food they consumed was from their garden...lots of canning and, later on, freezing. I remember her saying that the garden is what kept them above water.

But now the kids were grown and had their own homes and families, and Wanda Kay was really bored. After years of working hard to keep everyone fed and in clothes plus the odd job here and there and, of course, all of her volunteer work, Wanda Kay found that she had far too much time on her hands.

I was the first to arrive and found Wanda Kay out on the patio.

“I thought we could meet out here today. It's such a beautiful day, and with fall coming, our days of sitting outside on the patio are numbered.”

“I totally agree with you Wanda Kay. But I have to say that I am looking forward to fall. It seems to get my blood racing. Of course, your idea about opening a store got everyone's blood racing...once we really digested what you said.”

“Yeah, I guess I really did drop a bomb at our last meeting. But I am really serious about it. I have been filling out the forms and getting all my ducks lined up in a row. I am looking at a winter opening, after Christmas.”

“If you opened up earlier, you may get some of that Christmas retail trade..”

“I do understand that but I don't think I can get everything together by that time. And I want to have a great opening, not a thrown together one. Also, remember, lots of us like to begin new projects in January.

"And I am also looking at including other things like craft supplies, yarn and a selection of books including fiction books focused on crafting and quilting and...well, I was wondering if you would be interested in something?”


“Well, I was thinking that a coffee/tea bar would be a nice addition. Folks would be able to have some culinary treats along with something to drink. I was planning on having an area for folks to just sit and work on their projects. So having a way to get something to drink and maybe a few items to eat would be really nice. What do you think? Are you interested?”

“Well, that's an interesting proposition. I'm not sure if I would be able to be there all the time. I am still writing the articles for the local paper as well as teaching workshops. Wait a minute, would you host workshops and classes?”

“Absolutely! I want to offer a whole slew of courses...on a lot of things, still focusing on quilting, but making sure there are things for non-quilters to get excited about.”

“Well, I would have to look at the city requirements for a coffee/tea operation. And, I would not be able to be there all the time, so we would have to look into different staffing possibilities. But I have to say that the idea is intriguing. Of course, we'd have to get someone else to make the munchies.”

Martha Kerine and Elsie Jean strolled into the patio as Wanda Kay and I were talking.

“It is beautiful out here today,” Martha Kerine said. “I'm happy that we can work long as there are no fly-by bird droppings!”

“Well, I'll see if I can shoo all the birds in another direction, Martha Kerine.” Wanda Kay replied laughingly.

“So, Wanda Kay,” Elsie Jean began, “Are you really serious about opening a store?”

“I sure am, Elsie Jean. Gert and I have been talking about it and I think I have talked her into at least considering opening a coffee/tea bar in it. And Martha Kerine, I was hoping that you might be able to help with the food part of the coffee/tea bar? Maybe the two of you would take over that part of the store.”

“Really!” Martha Kerine almost shouted. “You are planning a coffee/tea bar with food! Hmmm. Wonder if the Swedish coffee would go over. Or, how about cold brew coffee? Lots of folks are drinking that over hot brewed...and liking it better.”

“Well,” I said to Martha Kerine, “with both of us handling it, there'd be a chance of it surviving better than if I did it on my own. My culinary skills are less than adequate!”

“I think you're right there, Gert.” Martha Kerine laughed. “But you know what, it would be nice to try out new baking recipes. And as it's not a cafe or anything, I probably wouldn't have to bake a tremendous amount. We have to find out the particulars on food prep, though. Can you do that Wanda Kay?

“Definitely. I want this to be a success which means making sure everything is on the up and up.

“And that brings me to another proposition for you, Elsie Jean? I remember that you did the bookkeeping in the real estate office that Charles Swenson opened up many years ago. Would you be interested in helping me with the bookkeeping?”

“Ah...well...that was a long time ago, Wanda Kay. I'm not sure if I would be able to do that sort of thing now. But it is an interesting idea...” Elsie Jean answered.

“Well,” Wanda Kay said, “We could learn it together. I'm not too sure about all the record keeping aspect of it myself. The Small Business Bureau does offer classes in that area. We could take them together, Elsie Jean.”

“You know what, Wanda Kay,” Elsie Jean replied, “It would get me out of the house a bit more. I have become a bit of a recluse, staying home and not getting out as much as I used to. Carl even mentioned that a couple weeks ago. " (Carl is Elsie Jean's husband.) After a few minutes, Elsie Jean finally spoke up, "I have decided that I will help you with bookkeeping and I'll even go to the classes with you.”

Elsie Jean shook her head up and down to emphasize her answer and sat down punctuating her answer. Then she began to smile and her demeanor changed to that bubbly, enthusiastic person we all knew so well but had been missing of late.

“Well, Wanda Kay,” I said. “I think this shop idea of yours has legs and is taking off. Have you thought of a name for it?"

“Not yet, Gert” she said. “I was hoping all of you would help me come up with something catchy, kind of down home country but still sophisticated that let folks know all about it.”

“Well, you don't want much in a name, do you?” Martha Kerine laughed. “Guess we will need to put our heads together to come up with that type of a name.”

“Who needs a name?” Anna Mae asked as she approached the patio with Ida Rose in tow.

“We were talking about Wanda Kay's store name.” I answered.

“What, are you really serious about opening a store, Wanda Kay?” Ida Rose asked with a look of astonishment, kind of like a cat with big saucer eyes looking at a dog who was ready to pounce.

“Yes, Ida Rose, I am going to open a store. And I was hoping all of you would help in one way or another.” Wanda Kay answered. “Of course, I know your hands are full right now Ida Rose what with the Fall Festival and Jenny's wedding. But later on I was hoping you would teach some classes. Gert and Martha Kerine are going to work on a refreshment bar. Elsie Jean is going to help with record keeping.

“You seem to have this all planned out, Wanda Kay.” Anna Mae said. “Anything I can do to help out?”

“Definitely, Anna Mae.” Wanda Kay said. “I need your help in putting together the inventory. I remember that you and your husband had a store on Brook Street.”

“That was a long time ago, Wanda Kay. Things are a lot different.” Anna Mae responded.

“True, but you are the only one here with any real retail experience. And I know you are fantastic with fabrics. You are always telling us about new lines of fabric and whether they are any good or not. I really hope you can help me out with that, Anna Mae.” Wanda Kay added.

“Well, it certainly would be an interesting diversion. I think I can find some time to help you out with that. I guess that means, count me in.” Anna Mae answered.

“Okay, everyone, enough store talk.” Wanda Kay said. “Let's quilt and while we are, Ida Rose tell us how the wedding plans are coming.”

“Oh boy, from the sublime to the ridIculous.” Ida Rose began. We all looked at her with questions written on our faces.

“Well, first of all, Daniel is getting all these ideas for the backyard wedding like a new patio with a permanent archway to a small area with a water feature. Then he wants to set up fancy seating along the fence...permanent, fancy seating! I mean, he is going crazy with plans. And now he wants to add a sliding door to the dining room so that Jenny can enter the backyard that way. I mean, his list is getting bigger and bigger. And neither Jenny nor I can get him to stop.” Ida Rose was out of breath when she finished.

“Wow, quiet Daniel is going all ballistic with wedding plans. Who knew?” I said, smiling.

“Right, who knew? I thought it was the bride and mother of the bride that went crazy...not the father of the bride.” Ida Rose answered.

“Well, at least you and Jenny came up with a really nice buffet menu.” Martha Kerine added. “And I have all the dishes assigned. So the buffet is well in hand, Ida Rose. And with Gert's artistic flair, the buffet will be set up beautifully. That's one thing to cross off your list.”

“And I am very grateful for that, as is Jenny.” Ida Rose thanked Martha Kerine. “And Jenny has finished her wedding dress. It truly is very striking in it's simplicity. I love it.”

“So, how about the wedding cake?” I asked.

“Well, Jenny and I have settled on the type of cake and frosting.” Ida Rose answered. “She wants a simple cake but I want to take a cue from the wedding quilt and decorate it with roses using the same color pallet."

“You could surprise her and just not tell her about the decorations.” I added.

“That's what I am planning on doing, at this point.” Ida Rose said.

We all settled down to do a bit of quilting. Anna Mae was quilting the areas around the flowers for Jenny's wedding quilt. The rest of us were working on our own projects. It seemed like just a few minutes later when Wanda Kay announced that refreshments were ready in the dining room. In reality, it was almost two hours later. So we all begin to put away our things.

“Finished!” Anna Mae exclaimed. “The quilting around the flowers for Jenny's quilt is done. Finito. Finished.”

All of us clapped and then Anna Mae and Elsie Jean held up the quilt.

“Oh, it is so gorgeous. Ida Rose, your plan is exquisite.” I said.

“It does look beautiful...just like Jenny.” Ida Rose said as tears began flowing.

Anna Me and Elsie Jean took down the quilt and all of us went over to Ida Rose for a great big group hug. One of our little ones was growing up and leaving the nest. Good times. Happy times. And sad times. The last to leave. The end of an era. At least for our little group!

“I think this calls for something stronger than coffee, ladies. Come on in. I have a bottle of wine I've been saving for a special occasion and this is about as special as it gets.” Wanda Kay said through her tears. And with that we all went to enjoy a glass of very special wine.

That's it for tonight folks...
Thanks for visiting...
Talk to you later...