The quilts were hung in several barns, and wooden blanket racks were on the lawns. The world’s longest clothesline — a swelling sea of cotton. A vision of wholesome. The Mennonite Quilt Auction in New Hamburg.
I can’t even imagine how you choose. The subtle variations were mindboggling. I felt a bit dizzy from all the patterns, like the fatigue after going to a big museum.
I think about the women who gathered around them. The stories and experiences shared while stitching — the laughter, heartache and boredom. There were so many quilts it might represent the female population of a small Ontario city, or a few country townships.
The last time we went, we piled into the car my dad left Ford with — the Country Squire. (The way we sell men cracks me up.)
In the time before seatbelts, we would sit in the spacious back with no seats and horse around. The back window was wide open. Cutting through acres of corn — a fabric unrolling to the horizon — heading southeast on Highway Eight.
We all liked venturing out of the small town on Lake Huron.
Peameal bacon on a bun is what we were all thinking about. Is it the Ontario equivalent of Wilensky’s? It was served from a gas barbecue a bunch of men wearing felt black hats and suspenders huddled around. They came wrapped in lovely paper-lined foil — soft in the hand like a blanket. Some people roll it down a little as they eat. I’m a get-this-wrapper-off kind of girl.
On a bleached late spring day we sat on the grass in a patch of shade with others and ate.
The auctioneer's banter had the same effect as the acres of patchwork. He was whirling buyers — like a country and western dancer — toward a purchase.
A perfect day.
Because I don’t like being visually and mentally overwhelmed, I’m picky about going to galleries. Art has always been a big part of travel (gardens too). I can’t cover a whole museum. It’s overload and the plot starts to unravel. I don't ever feel like I've missed something.
I go see a show, the work of a particular artist, or a single painting. The first time I went to the Tate was to see the Turners. What a luxury to be in their presence. In one day do you need more?
Robert Plant’s voice and Jimmy Page’s guitar. Both men are masters. Untouchable talent. Their music is orchestral.
My first acid trip. Houses of the Holy on the eight-track. In the back of a Trans Am, driving country roads. Four of us in the car. I was fifteen, maybe. Extraordinary memories from that night remain in me. A quilt of vivid colours. The shadows of trees and fences on the gravel road in the headlights. I was safe. And laughing…laughing…
I don’t need to tell you on how many levels I love Heart singing Stairway to Heaven. We need to hold our Bic lighters up for Ann and Nancy Wilson. Two women hand-delivering a high honour.
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