saga of the red twig

Looking uphill from 14th and Taylor

Today I knit from 6:10 – 6:45.  A shorter knit than usual because I ran out of yarn.  I was fine with that because I needed to put my friend’s ducks back in their hutch before the “witching” hour when the owls start craving foie gras.  During my ritual of unwinding the line down the hill, I always enjoy the view of stop signs like red lollipops in a row.  Two visitors came up the hill and burst into loud laughter at the sight of me knitting on the bench.  Girard and Genie, visiting family from Burgundy, France.  They came puffing up the hill with packs full of groceries on their backs.  We had a fun visit, and then they continued on their way…As I wound the line back up the hill, I saw Harry Pattison, an oil painter who lives all alone in a huge house enclosed by tall cedar trees.  The yard is full of mythological statues created by Harry’s father, Abbott Pattison.  (I know because I peeked.)  Harry and I have a history…We made each other’s acquaintance briefly one day about a year and a half ago, and he gave me his artist card.  Months went by, and we never talked.  One dull winter’s day, I was on a treasure hunt, searching for beautiful things to inspire me.  Suddenly, my eye was caught by a small red tree with no leaves by the sidewalk.  I had just picked a scarlet twig off the tree, when suddenly Harry burst out of the brush, and thundered, “Leave that tree alone!”   If you knew Harry, you would know how intimidating it was–tall, barrel-chested, with a bushy beard and a fat dreadlock on either side of his face.  I quit the scene as quickly as possible…Later, I emailed him an apology and a link to my website.  The next time I saw Harry, he came towards open armed and gave me a bear hug!  He said how much he had enjoyed my artwork, and that he liked 75% of it, which is more than he could say about his own work.  Today, Harry and I talked about the knitting.  I told him it has taken me 5 months (not counting winter and spring) to get down to 14th…”To make this stripe?”  he asked.  (No one has ever called the line a stripe before…a rope, a string, a ribbon, yes, but not a stripe.)  Unfazed, I told him, “yeah.”  He said, “That was an odd idea…but then who am I to say that?”

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