Saturday was the 2nd day of Walnut Grove’s celebration for Laura Ingalls Wilder. That was the hottest (so far) that I’ve had to work this summer. It was 96º with a heat index of about 102º! Thank goodness for the breeze! I would have wasted away to a puddle on the rocking chair without that breeze!
We had lots of people stop who were very interesting to talk to. The one that was very inspiring to me was a woman from Alaska who had moved, with her husband to this area years ago. She is a weaver and a knitter and she is ....... blind! I met her last week but was unable to talk to her for very long. I saw the two of them walking and asked Norm to go stop the husband to bring her (Grace) over to talk.
Now, I have had a nagging fear nearly all my life. If God takes away one of my abilities, which would it be? Sound so I can’t hear beautiful music and the lovely sounds of my grandchildren laughing and saying “I love you, Grandma” ???? Or my speech so I couldn’t holler at Norm anymore? Or my sight? Then I couldn’t weave ... spin, maybe, knit, maybe, but not weave!
And here is a graceful Grace who weaves while blind! I asked details - how does she warp, dress and prepare the loom for weaving? Does she do plain weave or does she do patterns? Grace has her husband help with the warp; if she does patterns, she has a tape player. Friends and family have talked the patterns onto tapes and she listens as she weaves. Pretty cool, huh?
Now I don’t fear losing my eyesight as much as I did. And Grace said that if she had to chose, she would have chosen eyes over ears, any day! But if she could have her sight, even for one day, it would be to look on the face of her granddaughter.
Another woman I talked to was named “Connie” and was thrilled to meet another (it’s a lot of fun, there aren’t that many of us out there). She does fiber research and is doing research on the Wilder family. If you have read the “Laura” books, you will know that the only fiber that was used was purchased materials, as the Ingall women sewed their clothing. They did knit, though, and probably crocheted, and made hand-made knitted lace. But Mother Wilder owned a flock of Merino sheep, sent the fleeces off to a commercial mill to be washed and processed, then spun yarn and wove material for the men’s pants and jackets and the women’s coats and shawls. (Read - or re-read - “Farmer Boy.”) This Connie has been to Malone, New York and seen the Wilder home farm (I’m drooling with envy). She purchased a black walnut spoon from Norm (the Wilders had walnut trees in New York), a wool shawl from Joy - knit from handspun yarn - and two skeins of Merino yarn from me. She was so excited about the Merino.
We also had a distinguished visitor at the celebration. The actor who played “Almanzo” - Dean Butler - in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” was there, talking about the series, some of the actors and life after the series. I went over to the bandstand where he was and took pictures and listened to some of the talk, then grabbed some ice cream cones for Norm and I and headed back to sit down in the shade while Norm went to listen to his talk for awhile, too. There were a lot of people (maybe 200, in my estimation) hanging around listening and watching. He signed photos afterwards and was going to be at the pageant where he would sign photos there, too.
It was a good day, although much much hotter than I would have preferred, with a lot of wonderful guests. I am looking forward to this next Saturday when we go for our last day. Alison Arngrim, who played “Nellie Olesen” on the series will be there then. I only hope it will be cooler.
It will be a beautiful day today - you have a beautiful day.