An Unusual Army

My friend Sherrie died in July and when I visited during her last days at Hospice House, she asked if I would take her sewing stuff. Of course I agreed. It turned out she had turned the basement of their house into a sewing center and shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer, decided her treatment time would be ideal for reorganizing everything. She pulled out yards and yards of fabric, material scraps, pins and needle packages, threads, and a myriad of other things, but as she became more ill, that’s as far as she got. When I showed up, I was faced with nearly unsurmountable piles of bags and boxes of unorganized things accumulated over years. Feeling more than a little overwhelmed, I filled our large SUV twice and hauled everything to my garage. I felt like crying. Why had I promised Sherrie I would deal with a project of this magnitude, I wondered. Then I remembered: I have a friend who teaches a quilting class at one of the senior centers here in town. I asked her if her group would like any of this, and bless her heart, her reply was, “We’ll take it all.” I tried to warn her about the amount. I told her in addition to the mountains of fabric, there were lots of heavy books as well as boxes of patterns and an older model sewing machine. She was undeterred. “I have an entire army at my command,” she reassured me. I stuffed the SUV again and took everything to meet my friend at the center. Almost immediately my car was surrounded by a group of gray-haired women equipped with hand trucks, wagons, and smiling faces. Within ten minutes it was all taken inside and later that day my friend called to tell me everything had been distributed — to various sewing centers, quilting organizations, teachers, and more. I called Sherrie’s husband, who was delighted. “Sherrie’s legacy lives on,” he told me. It’s a lovely thought — but it never could have been accomplished without that “Army of Angels” at the senior center.

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