Sunday, May 10, 2009

reknitting wayne

Originally uploaded by norvegal

I have been given an extraordinary task.

About three years ago, I waxed poetic here about Wayne, my elderly neighbor with a penchant for exquisite woodpiles. He and his wife Grace live just up the road from me in a tiny trailer that feels like Snow White should pop out from around a corner and start singing with the animals. It's a magic little place.

Grace is a living embodiment of her name, and Wayne was a lovely man, strong and smart but with a wonderfully mischievious glint in his eye. I didn't know him well, but he was a benevolent presence. I'd see him outside, tending his wood piles, raking blueberries, or keeping his driveway meticulously clear of snow and ice. We'd nod, smile, and wave.

Wayne passed away this spring, and I still feel a lump in my throat when I drive past their little house. He'd been sick for many months, during which time Grace never left his side. Now, after a quiet period of seclusion, she is back out in the world. She is getting her kitchen repainted and her deck repaired, signing up for more satellite TV channels, and basically filling me with awe and appreciation for the lessons she is teaching me just by living.

While not a knitter, Grace is a fixture at my knit-in. She brings her embroidery and sewing projects, and we all hang on her every word.

Well, last week she presented me with a whopper.

Wayne had a funny middle finger that was shorter than the others. Grace's aunt had knit two pairs of special gloves for him, tailoring that middle finger to fit his hand perfectly. He wore them faithfully all these years.

Grace handed me two of those special gloves and asked if I could reknit the shorter finger in each so that it extended the length of a normal finger. She is sentimental and practical -- she wanted a nephew to have Wayne's gloves, but she wanted him to actually be able to wear them.

So I shall unravel those stitches that were so carefully placed there some 40 years ago by another knitter. And in the reknitting of those stitches, I shall miraculously heal Wayne's funny finger.

I wonder if he's sitting up in the blueberry field watching over this and smiling? I dearly hope so.


Thanh said...

Thanks for sharing this lovely, touching story. You even have the matching yarn. I am sure Wayne approves of it.

Cat Bordhi said...

I love this. I knit a pair of gloves for a friend a few years ago, because he'd lost most of a finger in an accident and what was left hurt in the cold. So I made that finger double thickness to keep it warmer. What a beautiful glove Wayne had - someone loved him very very much.

Mrs. Lear said...


Madeline said...

What a wonderful story! I'm enjoying your daily entries - lots of good food, gardening, and a bit of knitting. Oh happy spring. Have you read A Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer. Such a good novel. Takes place in your area.

Marg said...

What a lovely story! I admire Grace -- and the grace with which she's embued in the face of the death of her life partner...I too have been in that place, and not so long ago. Re-knitting those gloves is a unique way to help her honour both Wayne and their nephew, life, death, cold, warmth...knit together.