Friday, November 03, 2006

best friends,mercy, and Max

Pull up a chair and have a piece of my bagel while I tell you a cautionary tale of a death in the family. Not a death in my family but the death of my friend Trisha's father-in-law Max. It's a cautionary tale because this is the kind of thing that can happen to you-SO PAY ATTENTION.
Last night I went to my Thursday night quilting with the girls. The girls are my two best friends, Trisha and Pat. Now both these women have the ability to make me laugh till stuff comes out my nose. Unfortunately, in the past few months Trisha's father-in-law Max had gotten progressively worse with a number of ailments that seemed to increase daily. It was one of those things you hear about in the news. Here's the headline- Man Never Sees Doc in 40 yrs-dies in 2 months of EVERYTHING!- O.K. got the picture? Now Max was probably in a health food store for the latest vitamin every other day and because of his(ahem)bazaar take on life, he wouldn't hesitate to tell you in detail what was wrong with your life and as an addendum, how miserable you were. Max was known far and wide in our village. He had long ago retired and only went to the Store on Mondays. I could make a list rivaling the phonebook of people who would put off going to the store until Tuesday just to Not see Max. If you went in for a specific item and forgot it was Monday-undoubtedly, you would come out having been lectured to about how ridiculous your idea was and you would hold in your hand the item that Max thought was more appropriate. Business on Monday was not brisk....For thirty years Max made every holiday miserable for my friend Trisha by initiating an argument with a random family member and clearing the room faster than a farting dog. Often after scraping his plate clean her would imperiously inform her how much better so and so's whatever was. He was as genuinely mean to her as he was sweet to the other daughter-in-law, who NEVER EVER invited him to dinner, EVER. Stay with me now.... Well..a couple of years ago I taught Trisha to paper piece. Sometime later I gave her some really special fabric for Christmas and she made, what started out to be a t-block quilt. It was really pretty and her work is always on the mark even without paper piecing. I watched her make the little blocks(many little blocks)and assumed is would be just lovely slightly larger than mini wall quilt. She picked out a paper pieced border with, I"M NOT KIDDING a million little pieces. It was very intricate. Well she decided to stretch out of the box on this one. When it was finished she had made a quilt that had all these t-blocks and toward the bottom they were twisted and turned as if they were falling out of the quilt. This was a really big stretch towards art for her. It was no less than spectacular. O.K. for those of you who have stuck with me on this journey-a few weeks ago Max finally left this mortal plane for a place where he can be a curmudggeon in eternity. Let me also add that the daughter-in-law who stayed by his bedside and comforted him was not the other daughter-in-law but Trisha. On the day he was buried, the mother-in-law asked if she could pick out something to put in the coffin with Max(you see where I'm going with this?) Trisha, being the best person in the world simply said "sure" and of all the houseful of quilts to pick from-MIL picked this one. OH!! yes!! she did! So anyway, last night at the Thursday night meeting of the quilting ladies the occasion arose to discuss someones quilt and how it wasn't done nearly as well as Trisha's. She said "you mean the one that's in the box with Max?" Now I'm not one given to throwing around colorful language(even though I find it amusing sometimes)but I yelled out in a barely restrained yelp "What the F__K were you thinking?" and of course everyone was very quiet for about 30 seconds-then we laughed so hard stuff came out our noses.....In closing let me just say that among the many reasons that this woman is a rock of a friend, after all the crap he gave her-she gave the eulogy for Max when no one else in the family was able to. As part of the eulogy she told everyone that if they had come to the store on Monday and wound up with stuff they didn't want because Max insisted he knew better-returns would be accepted on Tuesday of next week. Life is pretty damned amazing sometimes-for all the people who Max annoyed(and there are legions)over 400 people showed up at the funeral. We think some of them came to make sure he was really gone. The police blocked a main artery road so the funeral could get to the graveyard and there was a dinner at the VFW for everyone afterward. I guess that's what it means to be a part of a small town. People come to support each other and tell cautionary tales. I love this place. I will never pass the cemetery again without thinking of that quilt and hoping that Max is enjoying it.I hope it can stand up to the heat....

2 comments:

Lynette said...

ROTFL!!!.....
Trish sounds like a truly wonderful person - I'm glad she can make stuff come outta your nose. ;0)

Deb R said...

All I've got to say is that Trisha is a WAY better person than I am!!!!