Kenny recently lost his dad, Rudy. Kenny had kept some of his father’s clothes and contacted me about making a memorial quilt using those shirts. During our initial meeting I shared photos of some of the other memorial quilts I’ve done. Like this one for Mary Jo, this one for Beth, and the one I made out of my dad’s t-shirts just before he passed away last January.
When I mentioned that my dad was a pharmacist and that I’d included his Walgreens work jacket in his quilt, Kenny told me that his dad, Rudy, was also a pharmacist. Rudy owned his own drugstore. Back in the 1980’s, my dad owned his own drugstore too! This isn’t a big town and the drugstore owners all know each other. Without a doubt, my dad and his dad knew each other. Isn’t that wild?
I have to admit that knowing my dad knew his dad it made it hard to finish Kenny’s quilt. I found myself procrastinating on finishing it. Normally making memorial quilts is one of my favorite things to do but this time I found myself making excuses instead of buckling down and getting it done.
As we got closer to Thanksgiving I began feeling my dad’s absence more acutely. This is the first Holiday season without him. After all, just last Thanksgiving we were going down water slides with him at Great Wolf Lodge. The kids were floating through the lazy river and playing water basketball with their Pop Pop. Just one year ago.
Now we are putting up the tree without him.
Thanksgiving night after my family left, I decided it was time to finish Rudy’s quilt and spend some time celebrating his life for Kenny. I worked until it was done and I’m glad I did. This Holiday season will be just as hard for Kenny as it is for me and I’m honored that I got to help be a part of capturing his dad’s presence in this quilt.
Rudy enjoyed going out to the race track as long as it wasn’t overtaken with tourists. Churchill Downs was one of his favorite places to be. He was a practical man who’d wear out his shirts until the pockets were thread bear without it bothering him a bit. Kenny asked me to be sure to keep some of those raggedy edges in his shirts in tact. He smiled as he explained how it reminded him of his dad. You’ll see that I kept all the buttons functional and all the pockets still work.
So many families will celebrate the holidays this year for the first time without someone they love. It won’t be easy, but I feel honored that Kenny helped me get through Thanksgiving with this quilt. I believe Christmas will be a touch easier for him as he wraps up in this memorial quilt to remember his dad.