The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Little Boy Who Asked Questions (A Story For Nelson)

By Beulah S. Fox © 1985

Issue: August, 1985

Illustration by Pam Harris.Illustration by Pam Harris."Grandmuver, where's my quilt?" asked the five year old boy.

Grandmother didn't know what to say. She had made his big sister an Album Quilt showing events in her life, thinking someday when the little boy was older, she'd make him a quilt.

The little boy thought Grandmother could do anything, but he didn't think this was fair.

Later Grandmother said to Pawpaw, "I feel badly about not having a quilt for him. I had planned to make him one when he got older."

Pawpaw said, "I don't know, he's done many of the same things that Jennifer has. It would be interesting for him to know who his ancestors were. He's ridden an airplane too. Remember how he likes all kinds of animals and how he enjoys special holidays and stories. I loved the way he wanted a calculator when he was in kindergarten. And how he said he had always wanted to sleep in a big bed and wanted a fishing pole for his birthday so he could go fishing with Pawpaw at the cabin. It's sweet how he always says, 'I'm fine' when you talk quilt?" to him on the phone. Do you recall the time when we were riding along in the red G.M.C. truck and he said, 'Pawpaw what's B-U-M-P spell?' About that time the truck went over it. He said, 'Never mind!' What was the little bear's name he took to bed with him?"


"Yes, that's it."

"Oh, yes, the weeping willow trees that he called crying trees and the half-river. Remember the time we were crossing New River on the Narrows bridge when he looked at Wolf Creek going into New River and said, 'Look Papaw, a half-river.' And the time we took him to the Grand Ole Opry and how he had to stay indoors so much last winter during the snow."

Grandmother said, "You have given me some good ideas." She set to work. She used blue flannel to make the sky and yellow-green embroidery thread to make the Ole Opry and on another, a big snowman. Near the bottom of the quilt she embroidered these words: Made in 1977, so the little boy would remember the year in which the quilt was made.

People saw Grandmother working on the quilt and said, "I'd like to know why you are spending so much time on the quilt. It would be easier to buy a blanket." Grandmother had never been used to having things easy, so she paid no attention and kept on working.

As she worked, she thought about the good times she would have when the little boy came to spend his vacation with her.

Grandmother told Pawpaw, "When I quilt it, I will sew around the trees, the butterflies, and the bear so he can enjoy the pictures." She joined the quilt with blue like the little boy's blue jeans.

The people said, "You have so many things to do, why don't you get someone to quilt it?"

Grandmother said, "I want to make every little stitch so that he can look at it with pride and say, "My Grandmother made it." And she kept on working.

While she worked, she kept asking herself, "Will he like it? What will he say?"

After five days of straight quilting, using two hundred fifty (250) yards of thread and millions of little stitches, the quilt was finished.

When Grandmother had finished quilting it she spread it out on the bed. People came and looked at it. They said, "We have never seen anything like it."

The little boy came to spend his vacation with his grandparents. Grandmother kept watching the little boy to see when he would notice the quilt. His eyes got big and he said, "Grandmuver, is zat my quilt?" Then he gave Grandmother a big bear hug. One look at the little boy's face and Grandmother knew why she had spent days making the quilt.

"After all," she said, "He's the only little grandson I have."

After the little boy saw the quilt, Grandmother read this story to him. She said, "Who do you think the little boy was?" And the little boy asked another question, "Was it Nelson?"