For the Christmas Scarf – Part 1 click below
The traffic was crazy. But what would you expect for black Friday? The lightly falling snow wasn’t helping the matter. Molly had tried to stay off the roads, but she needed something and she needed it now. It had been two weeks since she had discovered the knitting needles and the yarn in Rebecca’s closet. She had followed her daughter’s green pattern until she ran out of green yarn and then used up whatever white yarn there was to extend things, but now she could not go any farther because she was simply out of yarn.
Molly had made it through Thanksgiving Day — but just barely. Last year, 4 months after Rebecca’s death, she had gone over some friend’s home for Thanksgiving dinner and did her best to muddle through. It didn’t work. She vowed right then and there that she would never again sit around a table with all eyes looking at her in pity. This year she did the brave thing. She stayed in bed all day. She changed her cell phone message to “Sorry I missed your call. I won’t be available for a few days” and her auto reply on her text to “I’m out of the area, let’s connect when I get back”. The extent of her Thanksgiving celebration was watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the zillionth time — and it felt like it.
This holiday season had again opened the wound that was her heart. With no one around she felt the hole from the loss of Rebecca more sharply than she expected. The death of her parents and break-up of her marriage also had been amplified in the emptiness of her days. Now she was desperate to return to the knitting project, whatever it was supposed to be, to reconnect with her daughter just like she had a few days earlier. If she just hadn’t run out of yarn. Now she had to go out on Black Friday, the worst day in this the worst time, of the year.
She sighed with relief when she found a parking space close to the door of the Hobby Lobby store. She’d driven for 45 minutes to travel the 5 miles that the store was from her apartment. She knew they would have the yarn she needed in abundance. She quickly made her way into the store and was greeted by an elderly store employee asking if she needed help. Polite and gracious through Molly’s hurried pace, the woman whose name tag read “Gracia” and whose accent revealed her Latino heritage, was clearly pushing 75. Molly wondered what this woman was doing working on Black Friday and much less what she was doing working at all. She personally escorted Molly to the yarn section upon finding out what she was looking for.
Molly stood in the middle of the aisle viewing the multitude of choices and nearly broke into tears. It hadn’t fully occurred to her until this moment that since she didn’t really know what she was knitting, she really didn’t know what she needed. Clearly she wasn’t working with the clearest of heads. Gracia had been observing her from a short distance away and now spoke to her as she came to the end of her aisle. “Can I help you further” she said in a soft tone. Not wanting to explain, Molly heard herself reply, “I’m just trying to make something for Christmas, and I am not sure what colors to use.” Gracia was now right next to her and reaching up she picked out a green, a white and a dark blue spool of yarn. “These always seem Christmassy to me” she said. Taking them and pivoting away in a hurry, without thinking, Molly said, “Thank you Gracia.” . “My friends call me Grace” Gracia shouted after the scurrying Molly. “Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.” she continued.
Because of the Black Friday cashier lines, Molly’s pace was forced to slow. Standing with the other shoppers waiting to make her purchase she looked around at the other merchandise. She allowed herself a few moments of gazing at what the store offered. “Lots and lots of craft stuff” she thought. “Got to come back here when there are less people”. Standing halfway down the isle because of the crowd, her eyes caught a colorful framed word art poster. In dark blue letters on a bright white background she saw the word GRACE spelled vertically on the canvas. Next to each letter was a word going across horizontally. Forming an acrostic it read “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” And then in green letters in a block near the bottom it read “That is what Christmas is all about.”
As she worked her way to the cashier she kept glancing back at the poster. She’d never heard it put that way before. It kind of made sense and gave some real meaning to what had become for her an empty holiday. Just then, Gracia appeared again having been sent to direct people to the fastest lines. Molly shouted over to her “Gracia, I mean Grace, could you help me?” When Gracia got close enough for no one else to hear, she whispered to her while pointing to the poster that had caught her eye. “Please get that GRACE poster for me so I don’t have to get out of line.” Gracia quickly got it for her and as quickly as she came she was gone helping someone else. “I hope I’m that spry at that age” thought Molly.
Inside her car Molly prepared to make her way home. She was satisfied with her purchases and examined them. She paused as she considered the coincidence coming out of her shopping bag. The Grace Poster in dark blue, white and green, the balls of yarn in dark blue, white and green all secured by Gracia or as her friends called her, Grace. As she looked at these items Molly felt a slight chill up her spine… and it wasn’t because it was still snowing.