This old blanket has always warmed my heartBy JAMIE PATTERSON,
There’s an incredible amount of power within it. Although it was created from scraps of fabric sewn together, it was a mighty thing.
This blanket was created by my grandmother when I was an infant. It may have been put together before I was even born for all I know.
With its red border, it is stitched together with an assortment of mismatched fabrics and scrap pieces. It has no set pattern, no rhyme or reason really. But my Maw Maw made it with her two hands.
And it was mine.
That blanket is included in most of my early childhood memories that I can still picture in my mind. When not in use, it was neatly folded across the back of my tiny-framed rocking chair. But when it was in use…that was when its real power came out.
That blanket was an important part of the process of making any illness disappear. Many a fever and cold was cured by snuggling inside it. Whether I was bottled up on the couch or sprawled out across my bed; whether I was running 102-degree fever or sneezing my head off…the blanket was always wrapped around me. As the drugstore medicine or that strange concoction that came from a dusty whiskey bottle with a Christmas peppermint inside was poured down my throat, I clung to that blanket.
It always made me feel better.
The blanket could also transform you into anything you wanted to be at any moment. Wrapped around my neck, that blanket became a cape as I turned into a mighty superhero, destined to save the day. That blanket changed into the sturdiest fort cover hung over the dining room table. Inside that cave, I was protected from massive bears and gun-toting bad guys. The blanket withstood hurricane winds, transforming into the sail of a pirate ship, draped over a kitchen chair. I overthrew Cutthroat Jack and One-Eyed Willie, thanks to the blanket sail.
The blanket was many-a table set for a family picnic or a solo lunch on my own underneath a huge magnolia tree in my yard. As far As I was concerned, it beat any fancy dining table around.
Maw Maw died several years ago, and my mother and I are just now getting around to clearing out her things in her house. I spent last weekend loading up boxes and donating old clothes.
Underneath a box of linens, there it was.
It was a little faded with time. There were a few ragged edges along its fabric.
But it was still my blanket. My grandmother kept it long after the picnics ended, the pirate wars stopped, the superhero battles and she didn’t have to tend to my illnesses anymore.
I smiled as I tucked the blanket under my arm and put it in the car to take to my home in Yazoo.
When I returned home that evening, I showed the family heirloom to my husband Jason. Wrapping myself up in it, I sat in my recliner just holding it. The feeling of imagination, warmth and protection returned.
“It even smells like Maw Maw,” I said, as I pulled its fabric to my nose.
When I was done, I folded it up and hung it over the back of my own children’s chair in the living room.
It was back where it needed to be.
Maybe it’s just an old blanket, hung over a kid’s chair. To me it’s much more - old but powerful, torn but new to my own children. And it’s not going anywhere.
It’s part of what makes a house a home.
And it’s right where it needs to be…near my heart.