The next afternoon as I opened the door to the Old Courthouse, I felt a sting on my needle finger...the one that gets pricked with every stitch. It reminded me that I had included the thimble and pad in my quilt kit. I worried all night about spots of blood on the Texas Quilt and what Josephine would think of my fence post needling leaving tracks of my DNA on the muslin backing.
I walked into the space I now thought of as 'The Frame Chamber' and greeted Irene and Beatrice, two of the Armadillos. I commented on the Grandmothers Flower Garden they were quilting, and mentioned that it was one of my favorite patterns.
"Sister and I pieced this top years ago. How many was it, Bea?", Irene asked. Beatrice paused with her needle stabbed in a blue floral hexagon, and answered Irene, "Well, now let me think....I believe it was right after Mama decided she wanted Bluebonnets in her flower garden." "That's right, I remember now", Irene said and launched into the Bluebonnet story.
There she was debating the merits of a flower that only blooms in the spring, lasts for only a couple of months and is difficult to grow from seed, against *Cactus Jack. He certainly had the upper hand, being a known politician and promoting a plant that can be found from Brownsville to Amarillo and from Texarkanna to El Paso. Whereas the Bluebonnet grows mostly in Southern and Central Texas. Beatrice piped in with, "I loved it when Mama told about how she whipped the *Vice President of the United States on the floor of the Texas Legislature with a Lil Ole Blue Flower".
By this time, I was sitting in the absent Sudie's chair totally engrossed in watching Irene and Bea rock and load their size twelve quilting betweens and pull the thread through their quilt that held not only special family memories, but some amazing Texas history.
Bea pointed out the Bluebonnet fabric that her Mama had made Easter dresses for the three of them. She continued reminiscing about the woman who whipped a Vice President with words, but who could not for the life of her get Bluebonnets to grow in the dry West Texas dirt. It seemed that the native to Texas and found only in Texas flower, flourished in pastures of Central Texas where conditions during the dormant season were ideal, but proved to be picky about being corraled in flower beds.
"You may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow,
but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state
the most beautiful land that we know."
W.Lee O'Daniel, 34th Govenor of Texas 1939-1941
*Cactus Jack, aka John Nance Garner, Vice President of the United States 1931-1933
See Ya, tomorrow for Letter C...The Chisolm Trail Quilt