Published 1:00 pm Sunday, May 5, 2024

Evidently the talent didn’t make it to my genes, or I haven’t been diligent enough to perfect it. I’m speaking of the artistry of a seamstress.

My grandmother possessed that talent. I still can hear the clacking of her sewing machine — the non-electric version that required its power from the pedal that she operated with her foot. It sat in her bedroom, humming often and was her instrument of creativity.

Much of my sisters’ and my childhood Sunday dresses were products of her talent with that sewing machine. She was meticulous with her work and never turned out any piece of clothing that was inferior. I listened to her instructions and directions when I purchased my own electric sewing machine, determined that I, too, could become a similar artist with thread and needle.

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With the introductory attempt, I learned that bobbins (the slippery gadgets that hold the thread) can be contrary to load and meet with the needle. Threading that needle isn’t for the hurried operator either. In fact, I found that the preparation just to begin the first stitches carry potential frustrations.

Even though sewing was a trying task, I held onto my determination to sew like my grandmother. I was beaming with pride when I completed my first toddler dress made from a cute pink and white stripe fabric. Mama handled and inspected it like a masterpiece or so I thought. After words that encouraged and complimented my first efforts, she finished, “Camille, there’s just one important thing you failed to do — the stripes don’t match on the sides. If you try hard enough when cutting from a pattern, you can match those strips.”

“Match the STRIPES?” I thought to myself. Who would have the time or inclination to wrestle with matching stripes? Mama was a dedicated and perfectionist seamstress. I was not. I accepted that and eliminated her step to sewing perfection very simply. I just avoided sewing anymore fabrics with stripes.

AVOIDING, I have learned, is a path that’s always an option in life. We can avoid seeing a doctor when we have a pain that we hope will go away. We can avoid taking meds or vitamins that we think aren’t necessary. We can avoid exercise. We can avoid people that aren’t “our kind,” and we can avoid strife or confrontation even when we know some things need to be addressed.

It’s a tool from our life kits that we can turn to often, and we often do. With some issues in life, that tool may save us some time or headaches, but AVOIDING thoughts about death, our eternal home and our names being in the Book of Life are the MOST devastating mistakes we can ever make. The reason – after death, meeting Jesus will be absolutely UNAVOIDABLE.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.