Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes....and blankets

Kind of long, but PLEASE READ!!!

I've had this burning desire for about the past year to learn how to sew. I guess it really started when I had Mia. I had all of these ideas in my head about little sewing projects I wanted to do for her and Bash like dresses, bedding, blankets, bibs, and all sorts of girly things (for Mia) and a tee pee and book tote or church bag (for Bash), just little projects that I can't bear to spend a fortune on in boutiques when I can do it myself. I hate seeing all of these tutorials and instructions online to make these things and not being able to even start them because 1. I DON'T know how to sew and 2. I don't have a machine 3. I don't understand a lot of the sewing lingo yet. So, I was at a lodge meeting with John and one of the ladies announced that the ladies would be meeting to compile all of the quilts and blankets they'd made for the Ronald McDonald House. Well, my ears perked up when I heard, and you don't need to know how to sew someone (Mrs. Joan Hudgens) there will teach you. Ahhh, music to my ears. So, I called her up and she was thrilled to have someone younger come by with an interest in learning and helping her make blankets, as she has over 50 years of sewing experience and over 29 grandchildren that never expressed an interest. So, I said I will help you make the blankets but I have one that is of utmost importance and I'd like this to be my first project, it is for a very special nephew of mine. She said come by anytime. So, I get to the door and she is this beautiful almost 80 year old southern woman from New Orleans and a little snowball white Maltese puppy named Molly at her feet. She welcomed me with a "Come on in Darlin" and I knew I had come to the right place when I was tripping over rows and rows of bolts of fabrics in the front room. She said "pardon all the fabric honey, my sewing room is full". So, I didn't mention before that Mrs. Joans and her belated husband were members of Humble Lodge for over 50 years and he died of cancer in 2002, but she'd started sewing things for the Ronald McDonald house years ago and since his passing, it is the only thing that keeps her going. I told her that I would start making the deliveries to the RM House on Holcombe for her, as it is a long drive from where she lives.
We made our way to her sewing room, which is an understatement, it was like being at Joanns, with closets and shelves full of fabric and machines that can design stitch/embroider/surge and tools and devices of the trade, lets jut say a seamstress's dream come true. We quickly got to work and began "get to know ya" conversation. I was hesitant to let Mia down, but she said "Honey, I had four little ones in five year so I'm no stranger to cookin, sewin, or doin anything with a baby on my hip, so you do what feels comfortable". So, she played with Molly a bit, and sat on my hip a bit and slept a lot.
I have to admit that I didn't know how much we'd have to talk about if anything or have in common for that matter. But after a couple of minutes we quickly found so many things in common. She was raised Lutheran (like me), has a crazy sister (in a good way) (like me), raised in the south (like me), went to nursing school (like me, only she finished and completed 31 years), worked in the operating room (like me), loves to sew ( like me, exited to say now that I'm learning), loves puppies (like me), loves candy (LIKE ME!!!!), and adored her ma & pa (like me). There are so many other things but those we actually talked and laughed about. It's funny because everyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE candy, so when I sat down to start sewing she said, "now darlin, sometimes I get a little tickle in my throat and so I keep these Jolly Ranchers around so help yourself " and pulls out an industrial size Sam's bag of Jolly Ranchers (one of my many favs) and I was like ok I'll have a red one, and its SO cute because the rest of the day she'd come by where I was sewing and toss like 4 or 5 red Jolly Ranchers by me and say "here's a few red ones". Oh, those are moments I live for, just the sweetest kindest moments.
We talked and sewed and talked and laughed for hours. She was just as exited to have a new friend as I was to learn to sew. She shared stories of her college years at 19 years old at Charity College of Nursing in New Orleans in the mid 1900's. When I asked what unit she worked in, she explained how she started out in the "White Male Medical" unit because hospitals were still segregated back then. Later she reluctantly went into the O.R. and ended up loving it. I think her medical background really makes her sensitive to these children whose health is failing and fuels her passion to make them these blankets with love. She told me stories about growing up back then, and courting her then prospect now her belated husband. I just listened and imagined as she talked and even shared pictures and albums of her history. It was funny because every time I'd hear her southern accent, I couldn't help but think of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. We were like Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode, one young and inexperienced but wanting to learn more about life and the other older and wiser, wanting to teach about life. In one of Mrs. Joan's stories about her son's wedding, she even mentioned a scripture from the book of Ruth. Ruth Chapter 1 verse 16: Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God, which is coincidently in the movie and one of my FAVORITE scriptures, she said it was hers too. I had a warm feeling inside as we bonded. Its funny how the Lord works and orchestrates us in each others lives, to fulfill and to help, to learn and to teach, bond and befriend, to love and be loved.
I spent Saturday afternoon with her and can't wait to see her again this week, I think I'll make some fried green tomatoes for her and see what she thinks.
I am so grateful and honored that I've made this new friend. She is a remarkable woman with all the wisdom and kindness that God has given her to share. I believe that the Spirit lead us to each other for whatever reason, I mean anyone could have taught me to sew, but I believe it was meant to be her.


  1. How cute! I love making more mature friends as well - what a great new friend!

  2. I love this one, I kind of teared up a little bit, how silly!!! I'm so glad that you're learning how to sew! I can't wait to see your first project ;) Maybe we'll get to see you guys this weekend in Houston! Give those babies kisses for us!


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