Yesterday, I answered a knock at my door, and there was Pat, whom I had not seen in several years. She was on an improbable mission. Her son, Isaac, a 25 year old graduate of West Point, is now in some further military training in Alabama. He has a girlfriend, and he and his girlfriend are going to make the trek to Upstate New York to meet mom (Pat) this winter, just after Christmas. So, she' s not just a girlfriend. Pat makes wonderful felted mittens, usually by felting a recycled wool sweater, then cutting the parts from the felted wool, and blanket stitching the mittens. Isaac wants some as a christmas gift for his girlfriend. But they have to be black and white houndstooth pattern, because that is the 'tartan' of her college. They have been looking, without success, for a wool sweater in the required houndstooth pattern. Pat is on my doorstep because she knows I have knitting machines, and maybe I can knit some 'sweater yardage', which she can then felt to make the mittens. Why, yes I could. We were figuring out the details for the knitting project when I remembered that I had a houndstooth sweater that I had machine-knit in the '80's. The sweater was not black and white, rather it was knit from two natural, undyed wools, one as white as unbleached fleece gets, and another of natural charcoal grey. Pat consults Isaac, and they decide this sweater will do the trick.
A barter is struck. The crisis is over. The clouds part. The sun comes out. Everything is wet and sparkley.
Then the cat wandered into the room. She wobbled to the center of the rug and didn't sit down so much as fall over. She reclined on her side with her feet out straight. This is her habit of the last couple years. The arthritis, especially in her hips, keeps her from walking no further than she has to, and staying upright no longer than necessary. What drives the Old Lady to keep going is her innate nosiness. She is always interested, and has to come and see what you are doing, especially if it involves yarn, and no matter that she must follow you up and down the stairs.
Pat and I reminisced about the Old Lady. Fourteen years ago, I had told Pat that I was looking for an indoor house cat. I wasn't looking for just any cat. I didn't want to raise a kitten. I wanted a cat that was already 3 or 4 years old, reasoning than noone keeps a closet shitter that long. I wanted a female, preferrably already spayed. And, I am partial to calicos. Pat called me back a week after that conversation, and put me in touch with a woman who needed a home for a 4 year old female calico. Ipso Fatso came to my house and has been in charge ever since. She is eighteen years old now. And for the last couple years, she had been called the Old Lady twice as often as she had been called Ipso. She doesn't answer to either name.
The Old Lady's teeth are going, along with everything else. She's contributing to the financial health of the local animal hospital on a regular basis. One of these days...
Meantime, while you are here, if you want it, ask your friends. They've got what you need.