It’s Sunday, 05 November 2017.
Nobody applauds when the announcer declares the 2017 International Quilt Festival over.
Queen Becky gives us a lesson in how to fold the quilts,
how to roll and twist the tissue paper,
and where to place it to prevent creases when the quilts are folded.
She is an excellent teacher from whom I learn an awful lot.
The quilts and all who had a hand in creating them are treated with respect.
A clean sheet is placed between the quilts and the floor,
and everyone who touches the quilts wears clean, white gloves.
Sean and David Rusidill (Caroline’s amazingly polite and fun to be with sons), Judy Jochen,
and Shannon Timberlake join in the take down and store effort.
The Engineer (Andy) takes quilts off the walls, and
Linda Moore and Peggy Thomas (sisters) fold and box quilts as they come down.
Caroline Rudisill checks quilts off the inventory list
as they go into the boxes.
It would not have happened with out Peggy Thomas
and Tari Vickery,
both seen here in The 70273 Project Interactive Booth
where people took home 1000 block kits,
left financial donations, and made Friendship Blocks.
Peggy Thomas and Tari Vickery (The 70273 Project Ambassadors)
– what would I . . . what would The 70273 Project . . . do without them?
Mary Green, Ambassador for The 70273 Project
(seen here in front of her beautiful Middling made with beads)
worked in the Interactive Booth, as did . . .
Cindy Cavallo, Ambassador
Caroline Rudisill, Ambassador
Frances Alford, Ambassador
and folks whose photos must be on somebody else’s phone:
Elaine Smith, Ambassador
Linda Moore, Ambassador
Judy Jochen, Ambassador,
Thank you all for making the effort not just to get to the Festival,
but to share your time with The 70273 Project. I am grateful beyond description.
Thank you to Queen Becky, who hung The 70273 Project quilts
in the Special Exhibit, making us look so good . . .
to Rose (she teaches special education) who helped hang quilts in the Interactive Booth . . .
to Becky who, because of health issues, wasn’t able to be at the Festival,
but for months and months before the Festival, donned her best patience and wit
to guide me through the process,
even taking the time to call me on the phone
with the good news that The 70273 Project had been selected
as a Special Exhibit when she could’ve just sent an email.
to Deann who was on-site, always calm and patient and thorough in her answers and instructions,
to Terri, whose laugh never faded throughout the entire five days
to the people back home who assembled The Go Block Bags
(all 1000 bags were taken!) . . .
to all y’all who weren’t there in person,
but were most definitely there in spirit – sharing posts,
telling others, sending encouraging, appreciative message, emails, and comments –
and to The Engineer . . . Andy
the man who has unwaveringly honored
our vision and vow of togetherness
for 44 years now . . .
It definitely takes a village, and we have a village made of the kindest,
most compassionate, smiling, big-hearted people I ever dreamed existed.
All good things must come to an end, and the International Quilt Festival is no exception.
Looking at the photos of empty walls now, I see visual foreshadowing . . .
We get home and take our elder Corgi Phoebe up the mountain on Wednesday,
cooking all her favorite foods and putting them in front of her,
sitting on the floor with her, petting her, talking to her, loving her.
She wants to go outside every 2 minutes or so as though she can’t make up her mind.
She stands over her water bowl as though it’s familiar,
but she’s forgotten what she’s supposed to do with it.
A business trip on Thursday, and on Friday, it’s time to make The Hard Decision.
As we wait on Jeff (our vet, friend, and well, extended family member),
a man comes in and walks right over to Phoebe who would ordinarily
be glad to see him because she has always known that everybody wants to pet her.
This man does want to pet her,
but today Phoebe doesn’t even raise her head
or look up at him.
We are ushered not into the usual exam room,
but into a more spacious room with colorful padded chairs.
There’s even a doggie bed . . . pink.
I know why we are here
– shoot, I’m the one who called Jeff and told him why we wanted to come –
and yet I am unable to let go of the hope,
that Jeff will enter to announce that an IV of fluids
and maybe 2 weeks of antibiotics and our Phoebe will be good as new.
That’s not what happens.
I sit on the floor with Phoebe.
She stands near the door,
and I ask her to move
for fear someone will smack her hard
when they don’t see her standing there.
She makes laps around the room,
walking in circles that take her
in front of the examining table,
in front of Andy,
in front of me,
then back by the examining table.
Around and around and around she goes.
Jeff takes her out to put the catheter in,
and when he brings her back,
she’s content to lay on the bed she’s been avoiding.
We all sit on the floor now.
As Jeff administers the sedative/anti-anxiety drug,
I tell stories that start with “Remember when . . . “.
As Jeff administers the narcotic,
we each lay a hand on Phoebe
and send steady streams of love to her
through our touch.
The precious four-legged soul called Phoebe
who gifted us with her presence
breathes her last breath
to the sound of laughter and love.
From the high of the Special Exhibit at IQF
to the lows of witnessing the life of a member of our family come to a close,
life is a roller coaster, and we have been in the front seat.