Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The "Afghan," A Family Tradition

*Look for a new blog posting every Tuesday and Friday*

Bubba and great-grandson Henry

In an effort to share all things "Catherine" my posting today is a letter I wrote to my first and only grandson before he was born.  At family gatherings Henry is outnumbered when surrounded by my other five beautiful grandchildren.  The picture at the right was taken at his baptism at St. Timothy's United Methodist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia.  We have always marveled at the way he is staring at his "Bubba"; her students have always paid close attention to her.

March 27, 2006

Dear Henry James,

Happy "Zero" Birthday!!!!

          Your Mother may have already opened your present for you a few days early.  Or perhaps a few days late if I remain true to form and don’t mail it in time to arrive before you do.  At any rate I wanted you to have a few facts about this afghan so that you might appreciate it more.  Like when you are old and gray and sitting in front of an open fire dozing in your recliner with a scrap book full of pictures of your grand kids in your lap.  Spread out over your tired legs will be this afghan.
          My, how time flies.  It seems like only yesterday when you weren’t even born yet and already you’ve got one foot in the grave.

          A few months ago when I learned of your existence I began thinking about what I should get you to start you on the road to “Tradition Appreciation.” You see, I have most all my life held the opinion that the fabric that holds families close is the formation and maintenance of “Traditions”.
          Now you need to understand that a tradition by my definition need not be old in time to be important to those who embrace a particular tradition.  Nor does a tradition require a large number of participants to make it important.  It can actually be meaningful even if only one other person is involved.  However, I encourage you to include others as much as possible, to enhance the shared moments of those special activities.  Nothing will give you more pleasure than recognizing with a loved one that a new tradition has just been born.
          And traditions do not have to be monumental to be meaningful to those in the circle.  The small, intimate events that get tapped for inclusion can be the most fun for all that share that particular moment.
          And perhaps most important of all, traditions don’t have to last a lifetime.  They can be allowed to fade quietly away as the parties of that tradition move on to other times, other moments.  Granted, it’s more fun to nourish them all but we must be realistic and let some move into our memory scrapbooks to be savored during those quiet times in front of the fire place.

                                 Which brings us back to your afghan.

          Several years ago your Great-Grandmother, Catherine Frazier Patty LeDuke, henceforth known as “Bubba” (another story for another time), entered her afghan period.  During this phase of her life she made the yarn industry happy—ecstatic even.  If your last name was LeDuke, if you were married to a LeDuke, if you knew a LeDuke, if you knew someone who knew a LeDuke, she made you an afghan.
 Mother mixed and matched her yarns well and to the best of my knowledge no two of the 683 afghans were the same, at least not the same color.  They were however, virtually all the same pattern.  Just look down at your lap and imagine 682 other wavy lined spreads scattered through out the world, bringing joy, peace, and warmth to 1364 other knees in front of other fire places.  Now that’s a tradition shared by many. 
          Now it was my intention to pass on to you the afghan that is in my lap now.  But it’s reddish in color and has too many salsa stains on it.  Your mother would not approve.  So when I was in Tiptonville last month, I decided to check and see if there were any unclaimed afghans laying around.  Low and behold I found a brand new one.  Unfortunately it was almost entirely pink.  Now I don’t know how things are in the year 2086, but in our time your father would not allow you to sleep under a pink afghan.  Soooooo, I kept looking.
          And right there on Bubba’s sofa was the very afghan that covers your lap right now.  A beautiful, acceptably appropriate blue one that I knew your Daddy would let you keep.  The only problem was that it was one that Mother had made for Sue.  Once I explained my desire to put a “Bubba”ghan in your lap, and the color restrictions, Sue quickly agreed to give her blue afghan to you. 

          So there you have it, a long Papa story basically about nothing.  Well not really about nothing.  You see, I wanted you to realize that whenever you hold this afghan you will know that a lot of loving hands were involved in getting it into you lap:
               Your Great-grand Mother made it.
               Your Aunt Sue gave it to you.
               Your Nana Duke washed it.
               Your Daddy picked the color.
               Your Mother unwrapped it   
               And your Papa Duke thunk it up.  
          So enjoy it ‘til you're 85 then pass it on to your great-grand son.  Since it’s blue it can’t go to your great-grand daughter.  But don’t worry, that pink one that I first found at Bubba’s is still in your family.  I saved it and gave it to your sister for her “zero” birthday in 2009.


On Friday, I'll share the letter written to Henry's sister Kate on the same "afghan" subject.

Jimmy LeDuke (I'd love to hear from you...feel free to comment below, or click HERE to send me an e-mail.)

1 comment:

  1. love this post almost as much as I love you, Dad!