Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

At Barnes and Noble last week, a kind clerk asked me if I had a Nook yet. Like the Kindle, Nook is B&N’s answer to the e-book. We talked about the fact that we each had not purchased one, but were beginning to lean toward the idea, particularly because we like to travel with two or three books, or need our reference books on hand at any given moment.

“I have been resisting,” I said. And I thought a minute. “You know what I really need right now, though? A sewing machine.” I don’t know what inspired me to say it to this woman, but beside me were both little children. Their little round mouths have been chattering non-stop about Halloween costumes we must make, creative projects we need a sewing machine to complete, and clothes that need altering. I had even noted on a sheet of paper at home that I would like a sewing machine for Christmas.

“I have one!” announced the clerk, and then after telling me she had taken it out of the box a few years ago, only to never use it, she offered to sell it to me for a good price. We exchanged emails, I thanked her, collected my purchase and my children, and turned to leave.

“Wait,” she said suddenly, “I’ll just give it to you. You can have it.” I was astonished.

So, yesterday, I brought my new sewing machine home. My son was so excited when I lifted the cover to show him the mechanics of needle, thread, and motor. He wants to be a gladiator for Halloween, and knows there are no gladiator costumes on the shelves at Target, but this machine makes his idea possible. In fact, this machine makes a lot of things possible. Years ago, my sister and I planned to buy one together to push the dyed silk I used to make to the next level of creative glory. The tiny one-stitch portable machines I have purchased really don’t work so well, and I want to teach my daughter to sew. I tell her stories about my mother making my clothes, making Christmas ornaments, and altering our outfit’s hems and waists. (My mother is, of course, the best mom in the world, and I want to be just like her, but I do not sew nearly as well.)

I am stunned that a stranger could be so generous. She asked for nothing in return. This little thing I held in my heart was not just for the convenience of professional stitching, but for the ability to produce memories and to teach my daughter something that she can build upon. She wants to design clothes when she grows up.

So, thank you, generous clerk. Thank you! And you’ll be the first to see Tiny Man in his gladiator outfit. Now, if I can just draw up a suitable pattern…

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