continued by Joyce...After I dropped Sarah off at music therapy, I drove to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book I wanted to use in a display. The quickest route to the area where it was shelved, was blocked by a group of teenagers. They were engrossed in conversation, so I made a few different turns heading to my destination in the back corner. While making this slight detour, I glanced at a table in the middle of the aisle and a thimble caught my eye. I picked up the book, gave it a quick glance over realizing I did not recognize the author. I love to read. I inherited that from my mother. I usually keep a paperback in my car to pass the time while waiting for the kiddos. So I bought it.
The next morning Matt had an orthodontist appointment. I grabbed the new book as we left the car. Once they called Matt's name, I opened the book and started to read.
Prologue. Takes place at a battered women's shelter. A mother and her two children have come for intake. She lies a little, pretending her husband died and wonders if the intake worker would pick up on that. I couldn't help but think how familiar this felt to me. I was that intake worker many years ago, and yes I wanted to let the character know, we were well trained to recognize such fabrications of the truth. But we were also well trained to not delve into it this early in the process.
Chapter One. We learn a little more about Ivy Peterman, the abused mother and her children. We also learn that a woman named Evelyn Dixon comes to the shelter once a month to teach the women staying there how to quilt. I'm starting to feel a weird sensation as I continue to read. Just a few weeks ago I did a post on my blog that talked about how I used to teach the women in the shelter I worked in how to quilt. I had taken Sarah to the shop where I used to buy fabric for the women who had no money. We go on to learn that Evelyn owns Cobbled Court Quilts in New Bern, the town this takes place in.
Chapter Two. We discover greater detail about Evelyn Dixon. Moved from Texas with her son Garrett to this small town in Connecticut. He gave up a lucrative job as a computer programmer to help in the quilt shop and set up an online purchasing system for his mom. His girlfriend Liza, is finishing up her degree in art and helps create displays for the store in her spare time. Evelyn stays in touch with her best friend, Mary Dell, from Texas who is an amazing quilter but does not have a very good eye for color. But that is OK, because fortunately her son does.
"Howard, her twenty-four-year-old son with Down syndrome, has a highly attuned appreciation for colors, patterns, and textures. Howard chooses all the fabrics for Mary Dell's quilts. Together they make an unusual - and unbeatable - team...And on Tuesday and Saturday morning, you can tune in to watch Quintessential Quilting with Mary Dell and Howard. Isn't that something?"
Go ahead. Read that again. I had to. Especially as tears were forming in my eyes. The next paragraph talks about how Evelyn left Texas after her divorce. Not something she would have wanted or volunteered for. And then the next paragraph...
"It's the same with Mary Dell. She'd never have asked for her one and only son to be born with Down syndrome, but if she didn't have Howard, would she be everything she is today? I don't see how. They fill each other's gaps."
Beautiful. Powerful. That one little paragraph made my heart stop. It spoke to me like this novel, a Kensington fiction novel, was the Bible. Book, chapter and verse.
"Together, with Howard's gift for color and texture and Mary Dell's gift for design and construction, mother and son create the most beautiful, intricate, stunning quilts. Quilts that look like symphonies sound. Quilts with the power of poetry, sea air and homemade chicken soup. Quilts that wrap around you with the warmth of loving arms. Quilts that teach you about love, and living well. Quilts that can heal hurts people don't even know they have and change their lives for the better."
I struggle to keep the tears from rolling down my checks. I'm sure if I was reading this at home I would be sobbing. Such poetic writing. About a mother and her child with Down syndrome.
Chapter Three: We find out that Ivy is working in the quilt shop. She loves it and the children are happy in their new temporary apartment provided by the shelter to help the women get back on their feet. Awesome. I love that concept.
Mary Dell and her camera crew have just arrived at the quilt store to film a segment. Evelyn yells, "You're here! It's so good to see you! Where's Howard? Didn't he come with you?
Mary Dell smiled broadly. "Howard's got himself a girlfriend - Jena. He met her at a Down Syndrome Association dance. Her folks invited Howard to come with them to the rodeo this weekend, so he's staying with them. We're going to film this quick so there wasn't any point in him coming."
And with that, I wanted to fall on my knees and throw my arms up in praise right there in the waiting area of the orthodontist's office. Surely it was not By Chance those teenagers were blocking my path at the bookstore Monday night. Something this magnificent, this crystal clear can only be By Design. My enthusiasm for our quilt store has never been so confirmed. I have no question we are on the right path. I allowed one phone call to cast a shadow of doubt, yet a woman I have never met, a writer of fiction, has restored all faith. I am grateful. So very grateful.
A few minutes later Matt walked out of the treatment room. "Mom, are you all right? he asked. "Oh honey, I'm wonderful. I'll explain in the car." After telling him about what I had just read, he said, "Mom I'm so glad Sarah is a part of our family." "Me too son, me too."