Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who are the women? Story One

Two weeks ago we met again. The idea behind moving our society from Presvytera's home to the church hall was to set up a sewing factory. I imagined a machine or two at each eight foot table. Instead, it was humbler. I didn't break out my machine, for a second time. I'm a bit afraid to break it out and reveal my utter lack of mastery at sewing. It's a shame to own such a lovely Kenmore yet have no idea how to adjust the tension. In fact, my real skill with the machine is threading the bobbin and then threading up the foot. I can plug in the pedal and select one of the straight stitches. If I select a more complex stitch, the whole of the thread knots up on the back side of my hem, leaving a shameful and evident lump of loops. I'm just fortunate that I've surpassed the early stage, wherein I often caught the actual material deep into the lower platform- what's that called?

So Dee, who masterminded this whole 'Theotokos Threads' name and purpose, had her machine. I didn't even break out crocheting, scissors, or any other threads. Dee was transforming sheets and pillow cases into some of the loveliest sun dresses. Floral cases with striped pockets, trimmed with zigzag ribbon and tied at the shoulders with bright pink ribbon ties. Dee was sewing a couple each day all this week. I need to check back with her to find out how many of the dresses would be shipped of with the doctor who planned to take boxes of clothes to Haiti. How many would she complete to ship off to Africa? What was the name of the organization that provided the pattern and requested the dresses? She's forwarded three different web addresses with such projects now. That's how I started thinking about this women's group.

Before Dee started forwarding patterns for peace shawls and pillowcase sundresses, she'd forwarded me icons of the Annunciation. I've been pondering her a bit, especially since people keeping asking why I didn't choose her as my patron saint. We share a name after all. For me, selecting the Mother of God, seemed a bit ballsy. I'd loved her for "storing up things and pondering." She was the first 'humanized' character within Scripture that I discovered. She wasn't the lovely maiden who was made queen, or the brave prophetess who helped judge the tribes of Israel. She had an inner life. It was that glimpse that keeps me wondering at her. Dogmatically she is called the Theotokos, translated the Mother of God from the Greek. Some stories indicated she grew up in the temple and was a gifted weaver.  Hence in the Annunciation icons she dropping a vivid weaving from her hand as the Angel Gabriel confronts him. 

Dee is energetic. She sews quilts. She knits hats and gloves and scarves. She drives vets to their medical appointments, transforms her yard into a garden and shares the produce and generally remembers everyone's birthdays. Our church garden has its charming English style- welcoming and hiding- because of her efforts. All it's quietude on twenty-five bucks a year. I wish I had her skills. She also 'tells you like it is.' So when I'm sure my parenting has gone astray, she either agrees 'yup', I need a reality a check, or sets me straight about having the toughness to parent right.

 Dee was a bit worried that we'd mix the wine with those machines. I joked that I wanted to sew my hand to a sundress before I gave up the chocolate and wine. This whole society started as "Women, Wine and Chocolate" but the announcements at the end of service were getting plenty of comments. Is that for men or women? The guys joshed. I kept having pictures of my evangelical friends, wondering why a bunch of Orthodox Christian women were getting together to get boozy. That's hardly the case. A glass or two of wine, but plenty of chocolate. Besides, with Great Lent approaching, we wanted to keep it up, but another presvytera and the young, pious, Anna wondered if we'd keep it up? Boozy, chocofied gals are hardly the icon of humility and chastity during Great Lent. Not that there aren't Lenten chocolates and wine and oil nights for celebrating. That's not the point. The point is that the society has a purpose and a pleasure. Those things have ways of binding us together. The key is to avoid the loopy, shameful bunches of thread on the underside of things. Those are bound to crop up, in spite of my best intentions, but I might as well be thoughtful enough to anticipate the snafus that arise.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. Sorry I wasn't able to make the last one--I was still so, so sick. I wanted to be there.

    Bet I could make a better mess on my sewing machine than you. :)