When I was a kid, we lived in Ames, Iowa, for a few years.
I’m sure Ames is a nice town and all, but what I remember most about it is that in the winter it was very cold.
You know how cold it looks in the movie “A Christmas Story”?
That’s the way I remember Ames looking. In May. In January, it was really cold.
I remember wrapping up on those cold afternoons and evenings in one of the quilts my grandmother made and trying to stay warm until July.
I think a lot of people have quilt memories. There was a time when a quilt was a necessity. But even in those days, quilts were much more that a means to stay warm on a cold night.
Because of the work that goes into making a quilt, they have always been more than a blanket. As Anne Barker told me, “A quilt is like a hug.”
I think Anne said that about quilts. But, it might have been Ruth Pendleton or Nancy Smith who said it. See, I was chatting with all three women this week at the Joplin Museum Complex. The women are members and officers of the Town and Country Quilters. The three were on hand for the judging of the group’s upcoming quilt show.
The show, which gets under way Thursday, will feature 110 quilted items that will be on display through Saturday at the museum.
Nancy is president of the Town and Country Quilters. She said the group formed in 1985. There were 10 members in that original group; today, there are 103 guild members.
I first wrote about the group after the 2011 tornado. If you don’t know, quilters tend to be generous people, and when word got out that the Joplin group had lost most of its quilts and quilting supplies in the storm, other quilters went to work. Before long, the Town and Country Quilters were blanketed (Ha. I used that same joke in 2011) with quilts. In all, the group was able to donate about 1,000 quilts to residents affected by the storm.
By the way, community involvement is a big deal with the Town and Country Quilters. Since the group was formed, members have made a habit of making quilts and donating them to the community. Last year, the group donated 300 quilts. This year, the guild has 150 quilts ready to be handed out and 60 that already have been donated.
Each year, members get together and choose several deserving community service agencies. The quilts are donated to those agencies, and the agencies decide how to distribute them. In addition, quilts have been donated to the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Quilts also have also been shipped to tornado victims in Moore, Okla., and to storm victims in Indiana and Mississippi. The guild also sent quilts to Newtown, Conn., in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.
I spent about 30 minutes wandering through the Joplin Museum Complex with Ruth, Anne and Nancy looking at the quilts on display. Regular readers of this column, who somehow may have the impression that I’m a baseball and beer guy, may find this hard to believe, but I had a good time talking quilts.
First of all, the quilts are amazing. The work and talent required to make a quilt boggle my mind. More importantly, at least to me, quilts are evocative (it’s a word; I looked it up) of comforting memories. It was while talking with Ruth, Anne and Nancy that I thought about that quilt I used to stay warm in Ames.
The Town and Country Quilters show runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Joplin Museum Complex in Schifferdecker Park. Admission is $3.
If you get a chance, drop by and take in some quilts. I guarantee you’ll feel better if you do.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.
When I was a kid, we lived in Ames, Iowa, for a few years.
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