There were ten of us. We were all taking part in a sewing venture, making small pillows for mastectomy patients and shirt front bibs for residents of a veterans’ home. We were women with a good cause. But I think we all agreed afterwards that the best thing about our working together was the fun we had, the laughter we shared. Women need girl time, just as men need those hunting trips and sessions around a paused tractor.
In our busy, fast paced culture there’s far too little time for friendly banter, for catching up on each other’s needs and wants, for simply laughing over nothing.
In pioneer days families were separated by miles of wilderness or weary stretches of prairie. A highlight of their existence was the rare occasion when they all came together for a quilting party or a picnic, a barn raising or a spelling bee. At those times, inevitably, men would cluster to share their latest successes and failures. And women would find a chance to chat as they laid out precious scraps of material for quilting or organized delectable dishes on the church’s long dinner-on-the-grounds table.
Our lives are so different from that of the pioneer families. We’re surrounded by people all the time. We go to church, to Walmart, to the library and the post office, to our places of work. We pick up the phone and call our wonderful family members and friends. We turn on the television and hear the latest news. We turn on our computers and catch up on social media notes or play You Tube videos, or study some ponderous subject.
None of those contacts takes place of simply getting together for the common goal of getting together.
At our sewing gathering there were comments like “Pass me the other scissors. These won’t cut.” or “Did you mean to leave this seam open?” and “What did you say these pillows are for?” Or there was a question like “Have you heard how ____________is?” One of the “girls” (we’re all over fifty but still girls) told a hilarious story on herself which reminded others of their own tales.
We were working in two adjacent rooms but couldn’t hear everything that was said at each table. At one time those at one table erupted into gales of laughter. When the other group demanded to know what was so funny all we could say was “It’s not what she said, it’s what she didn’t say.” Then someone added, “It’s how she said what she didn’t say.” In the ensuing laughter it’s a wonder any of the seams turned out right!
We all got very serious talking about troubles in our world–fires in Australia, the new strain of flu, conflict in Washington, and various ideas for removing stains. We considered the patients who would be using the pillows we made and hoped they would be comforted. We talked about the veterans and how they might find the shirt front bibs helpful. We wondered out loud how those in trouble can survive without the sustaining power of the Almighty–and friends.
But laughter is what I remember most from that afternoon of sewing. When my two young grandchildren came from school, they helped me serve light refreshments. I hope they, too, will remember the laughter and fun of that workday. I hope they’ll realize that gray hairs may be a sign of wisdom, but they don’t mean we can’t have a good time.
As I picked up loose threads and straight pins and stowed away the sewing machine I smiled again at the memory of each one who was here. We are all better, I think, for talking and laughing and working together.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. Psalm 126:2