I was thinking about Miss Alice this morning. She was my mother’s mother and an expert in frugal living. She made patchwork quilts and rag rugs from used clothes and household linens. Her handiwork was colorful and serviceable. At lunch time, she opened the doors to the pantry and the refrigerator to survey what was at hand. In the summer, the garden was also inventoried. Then the chopping and the mixing began. As I child I was intrigued and a bit wary on days when the dish was named a “mess of vegetables.” In later years when I was a Marine Corps spouse, I learned about the mess hall and the food application of that word. But fabric or food, Miss Alice was in her element when she was chopping and mixing the things she had at hand.
This morning I surveyed the stack of silk screens, the tub of paint, and the mound of fabric on the sofa. These were the materials at hand. They beckoned me. Miss Alice whispered, “Times’s a wasting.” I put on my apron, another work habit from Miss Alice, and got busy. I had planned to go shopping this morning. The paint is drying and I am snacking on cherry tomatoes from the garden. The tomatoes please me, as does the fruit of my hands.