© Gail Boenning 2019


The old fashioned downtown street possessed a string of brick shops connected one to another without any space in between. Circling the block twice, my mother-in-law wasn’t able to snag a parking spot in front of Bergson’s repair. We parked on a side street and I offered to carry the sewing machine, but my mother-in-law declined.

“Somebody from the shop will come get it,” she said. “It’s too heavy.”

Through the glass door and front window, we spied a man tweezers deep into the workings of surges and zig-zag stiches. To my surprise, the shop was overflowing with machines that spilled off the shelves onto the carpeted floor.

Sewing is not the lost art I thought it was!

I peppered the repairman with questions about his business. When he made a comment about how left handed was really right (correct) handed, I told him he reminded me of my father.

Does every generation have its own brand of humor?

Near the cash register there was a pin cushion with a crocheted cover. My memory flashed to the round, metal, sewing tin my mother kept on her closet’s top shelf. Inside the tumble, mixed with spools, needles and a seam ripper, there was a well-used red pin cushion with a green stem on top. An apple? or, tomato?

The tin also contained a roll of pink tape that my mother would run across my bangs, above my eyebrows. She’d snip with care, but grade school photos revealed she could’ve used more practice.

Nine years younger than my sister, whose locks dangled below the bottom tips of her shoulder blades, my mother insisted she wasn’t going through any more brush and tangle struggles. I was destined for a short shag maintained by my mom and aunt Renee. At least she had a beauty license.

Are your sneakers tied? We’re going to make a leap. I’m hoping to make a nice tidy seam at the end. Keep going…you’ll want to see how this knits together.
Me, too!

After errands with my mother-in-law, I had a few stops to make on my own, one of which was the bank. I’d been in and out of the sewing shop, a bakery, a coffee shop, Walmart, The Home Depot, the library and the town hall. At the bank, I chose a drive through lane and placed my transaction in the magic tube along with my new driver’s license.

While I waited, I ran through the well worn tread of apps on my phone. Nothing new since I’d waited for the train to pass just minutes ago. This is a personal weakness I’m working on…

After tucking my phone back into my purse, I peered into the bank and made a face when I saw my new driver’s license photo up on the teller’s screen. The picture was almost as big as my real head. I’d made a conscious decision not to smile when the photo was snapped and I regret it. Why so serious? is what I think every time I see the permit.

The teller saw me peeping, smiled, waved and held her thumb and index finger up indicating, Just a little longer. True to her gesture, she approached the drive through counter in a flash, sent my cash through the magic tube and said, “I really like your hair so much better on your new license. It suits you!”

She pinned me right near the stem of my tomato? apple?

You see, the old license showed a woman eight years younger with shoulder length tresses. The new license shows a mature lass whose hair only brushes the tops of her ears.

Just a few days before I’d placed three licenses on the counter side-by-side for my own little version of age projection in reverse. In that moment, I’d resolved to grow my hair longer. Why exactly, I’m not sure. I like no nonsense short hair. Trying to reclaim my youth?

What I find interesting is the pin offered by the bank teller completely shifted my intention. One sentence from somebody I don’t even know and I’ve decided I’ll never grow my hair long again — at least not this week.

And here we are at the seam…..

All day long we go around connecting with others. Depending on our mood, we either smile or frown at the clerk. We wave a car through with a smile at the four way stop or scowl out the windshield if they don’t move fast enough for our liking. We thank somebody for holding the door or rush past without a word. In our highest moments, we lift somebody up with a compliment or encouraging word.

You just never know the impact you have on another person’s life — even that of a stranger.



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