The Knack

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Washing machine. Dryer. Dish Washer. Holly and Ron. Engineers. The Long Arm. Kate’s sewing. Quilting. Jamie Bernstein and Lauri Knox. Brie. Bagel crisps. Eggs mayo. Little peppers. Honeycrisp apples. Bananas. Supermarkets.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Pruning. New shoots.


They’re everywhere. This cute animation tells you what to watch for. Whatever the knack is, it passed me by. Those who make the material world bend to their will have magical powers. Can’t say I knew any engineers growing up, though a couple of guys from my class in high school became engineers.

I don’t know the full composition of Kate’s sewing group, the Bailey Patchworkers, but of the few I know two are engineers, one a former hospital administrator, and one a physician. A talented group of women, smart, too.

Kate started telling me two years ago that Lauri Knox, an energy engineer, and Jamie Bernstein, the hospital administrator would “take care of her quilting stuff, her stash.” Yesterday that process got underway.

Holly, gray hair in a pony-tail, a woman of my age, came to pick up the long arm quilter. Lauri said she couldn’t take it. I don’t know why. Holly, one of three women in her engineering class of 300, graduated. The other two did not. She and her husband Ron have a business as consulting mechanical engineers.

Ron was with a client, Holly said, as she began to dismantle the long arm, get it ready for transport. A mechanical engineer, Holly spent most of her career in construction as did Ron. In south Florida. They worked on many condos but not the one that fell into the sea. They have, however, been getting a lot of calls.

When Ron came, a thin man, somewhat tall, balding and already white haired like me, he had an easy smile. We talked about engineering, about being an expert witness. I told them two of my best friends are engineers (but, I wouldn’t let my daughter marry one).

Wedding quilt for Joe and Seoah

I appreciate the care with which Holly and Ron dismantled Kate’s long arm. It meant she would use it, take care of it. Too, like Lauri had, Holly plans to let others from the Bailey Patchworkers use it. They do a lot of charity quilts.

Kate’s life continues to radiate, to inspire, to help others. She knew I wouldn’t know where to begin with all of her sewing room content and arranged for its care well ahead of time. Thoughtful and kind.

And. I asked Holly if she knew Kate. Yes, she did, but not real well. They had moved here in 2017 and she didn’t get into the Patchworkers right away. “But,” she said, “from what I know of her I think she was a spitfire.” Oh, yeah. That, too.


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