By Christopher Slater
For the past several months, I have sat in my
philosophy class, hearing my professor teach the philosophies of
many people, and most of them seemed to ask the same question at
one point or another: what in this world lasts? On a much less
philosophical side, I listened to a song on the radio yesterday
called "Time Marches On." One statement within the song struck me
as interesting. "The only thing that stays the same is that
everything changes." It started to make me think about what in my
life has lasted.
Well, anyone that knows me can tell you that I am no
philosopher. I don't have the patience for it. I look for the
quick and easy answer. This was no exception. Still, once I
started to think about it, I think that the quick and easy answer
that I found was the correct one.
Looking around my room, I passed by the posters, by
the airplane models, I even passed by my computer (just don't
tell my computer that! It gets so jealous). I pretty much fell
into my answer, literally. My mother is very good about moving
the trash can in my room whenever I am gone, and my feet usually
find it for me. This was no exception, and I tripped, catching
myself on the wall, and almost knocking over the small table next
to my bed. I looked down to see if anything had fallen, and I saw
the answer to my question. Beneath the book I was reading,
beneath the telephone that occupies so much of my time, and
beneath the glasses that are supposed to keep me from making dumb
mistakes like I had just made, I saw the quilt that I had been
using for as long as I remember.
I don't know when my mother received the quilt from
my Great-Grandmother Biggs. I don't remember the first time that
I used it. What I do remember is lying underneath it with my
sister when we were young. I remember using it to construct a
tent out in the den. I remember lying underneath it on my bed my
first winter in college. And I also remember how upset I was when
my mother asked me not to take it out when the weather started
getting cool again my second year of college.
But why did it last? The quilt has a hole in it that
I can almost fit through. It is still the warmest thing that I
have ever laid underneath. But what makes me think that it will
outlast me? When I laid down on my bed next to it, I thought for
a while and finally realized why. The quilt won't last forever.
What is in the quilt will.
From what I have been told, my great-grandmother gave
my mother the quilt with the explicit instructions that she use
it, not to make it a decoration, because that is what she had
made it for. And use it my mother did. She claims to have used it
to wrap me up in when I was sick as a child (which was very
often) and I know for a fact that it got a lot of use from me.
There were always afghans and wool blankets around the house, but
nothing was warmer or more comfortable than that quilt. I don't
know how long it took Great-Grandmother to make that quilt, but
it was time very well spent. Now, whenever I look at that quilt,
I don't only think of what it was used for, but where it came
from, who it came from, and what I remember of her. And whenever
I do remember my great-grandmother, I remember her very fondly. I
remember how sweet and kind and funny she always was, and then I
understand why the quilt was always so warm. It was always so
warm because she made it with love, and put part of herself into
it, and forever put part of me into it as well. Now, every time I
think of that quilt, I realize that I never told her "thank you".
Be it for the quilt or for her company. It is only with hope that
I pray that she does know that I thank her, for everything.
So what does last? No, the quilt will not last
forever. The line in the song was right. Everything does change.
Great-Grandmother Biggs left us, and the quilt is now a source of
memories and no longer the "workhorse" of the house, and I know
that it is all for the better. Everything changes so that some
things can go on forever. It is because of these changes that the
warmth and care that was put into that quilt by the great lady
that made it lives on in my mind and heart. And it is my promise
that this warmth shall live in my heart and within the heart of
anyone that looks upon simple things, like the quilt, for how
they feel, not for what they are, forever.