Saturday, April 27, 2013

Granny welcomes 'foreigners' to Cloutierville, as history in a quilt

Delia is so angry, and I tries to get her to calm down, but she just shakes her fist while we is putting the quilt together for the church raffle on Sunday.  "Them foreigners.  They is the ones making the trouble and why we can't get jobs as much, and then they is always taking from the rest of us, so we got to keep them out."

I looked at Delia and smiled, just a little, since smiling too much just makes her angrier.  "We was all foreigners in America,"  I told her.  "Your family came from France and settled here in Cloutierville.  My folks did too, and so did Aunt Sue's folks.  And then there are folks who came from England and other parts like that.  Some came when they got no choice, cause people put them in chains and dragged them here.  Only your neighbor, Chief Daniel, has folks that's always been from these parts.  But even he told me his people long, long ago came from somewhere else."

I gets worried so much talk these days about foreigners, not just in Cloutierville, but everywhere it seems, people worried about outsiders taking over.

"I don't like them," Delia said.  "They is moving into my neighborhood and taking over the school.  Then they gets pushy at the grocery store, thinking they're better."

I lifted up my end of the quilt I been working on and said to Delia, "See this quilt here.  Not one patch is like the other.  I got these patches, some from your little dress years ago, and I kept a little of it for later.  Then there is Bea's blouse she was giving away, but I got it at the rummage sale and there's a big part of it in this quilt.  That's like Cloutierville is, like folks is everywhere.  We are like this quilt.  Some of those patches look like they won't fit with another one, but turns out when we're done with the quilt, it's always prettier than the last.  It takes all these patches, different sizes and shapes and colors, and our hands with our stitching, loving each piece, to make a quilt that folks think is beautiful.  And the Good Book tells us, " 'She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands' so folks been doing this a long, long time, and maybe we is told all that so we understand how we is all like that quilt, in the way we can fit together. 

God makes us folks just like we make quilts." I sees Delia smile a little, looking up from her needlework, so I knows she heard me.

Sunday comes after church, and I sees Delia in the big room where we is having the raffle.  She is buying that quilt we all made together, and I hear her say.  "I need that quilt to give to my new neighbor, who just moved here from Guatemala cause it's a kind of welcome to Cloutierville, where all of us were strangers once and now we all is friends."

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