I saw a snippet (God bless TiVo! No more watching the boring bits of things!) of Sewing With Nancy last weekend, and she had a quilting guest who explained her Hobo Quilt, which was made of blocks portraying symbols such as these: What could be more intriguing? The stories behind such symbols, left in chalk or charcoal, marked on fenceposts and power poles ... I thought of the men who traveled on trains, looking for water, or food, or alcohol to numb their lives ... looking for kindness.
I thought about that scene of widest generosity and compassion in Fried Green Tomatoes - you know the one, right? When Miss Idgie take Smokey Lonesome out into the back yard so she can give him some booze ... because his hands shake too much for him to get his soup to his mouth without spilling ... and he's so ashamed. So deeply ashamed. Never one to wallow in sentimentality, Miss Idgie breaks the tension by telling him Buddy's tall tale about the geese that flew off with the frozen pond. It doesn't talk about it in the movie, but in the book they find the body of this man ... and the only thing he's got in his pocket is a picture of Ruth, the woman he loved all his life. Idgie took care of Smokey at least in part because they both loved Ruth.
Every time I see or read Fried Green Tomatoes, I think about The Journey of Natty Gann (and wonder how much of that haunting movie got into the blood of my tough and tender daughter). Men looking for work. Men headed into the woods here, where I live now. Desperate men who only wanted to keep body and soul together for their kids, at least. (And now I see that John Cusack was the other star of that movie, and I'd completely forgotten that! Man alive, that guy's had an incredible career!)
So, anyway, I looked at that quilt on Saturday, and I thought about the stories. Today I put the book into my Interlibrary Loan queue, and when I looked it up, I clicked on the link to look inside. This is more than a quilt book. A lot more. Go to Amazon. Check inside. Turn the pages. See that family?
How many stories?