My husband’s friend, Willie, is repacking the cylinders of our backhoe. This entails hours of greasy labor in the heat and humidity and multiple runs to the Napa Auto Parts store for parts and tools and to the John Deere store for gaskets. Ran is the go-pher, encourager, and junior helper, while my part is supplying ice water and watermelon slices at strategic intervals. Willie doesn’t want to charge market value for his know-how, so Ran asked me if I’d be willing to give him a quilt for his labor.
I do have a few extra quilts around the house. Just a few (cough, cough). I set out five for Willie to choose from. We thought he might select a red, white, and blue quilt since his wife decorates their bedroom with those colors. But when he saw the quilts, he immediately chose the very scrappy “Roman Stripe” quilt that I recently finished.
Willie chose this quilt because it reminds him of the quilts his mother used to piece in the evenings after the day’s work was done. She’d pull out scraps from clothing or curtains, whatever was at hand, and hand piece quilts. She pieced while the children were settling down, then she retired to bed herself. If guests or cousins came to stay for a few days, Willie remembers everyone finding sleeping places on pallets made of quilts.
Our old backhoe is getting a new lease on life, and Willie is getting a new quilt full of old memories. I call that a memorable barter!