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A Stitch in Time

I begged Allan to exit the highway and retrace our steps. This is not as easy a feat as it seems

I met my husband for the first time in an office building in Manhattan. I’d gone to apply for a summer camp job and soon found myself lost among the many long, winding hallways within the organization’s offices.

Suddenly, a tall, handsome man appeared before me, wearing an impressive-looking, long, dark, rubberized, printer’s apron. I asked where to find my interviewer, and he directed me to my destination. I’m certain that if not for the printer’s apron, I would never have remembered the encounter.

He felt a stronger connection. Much later he revealed to me that when we met, he had a premonition that he’d end up marrying me.

And so he did. After he proposed, I began debating what kind of gift I could give my betrothed; one that would express my creativity, would bring him joy, and serve as a constant reminder of how much I cared for him.

I decided that a handmade tallis bag would fit all the criteria. I’d attempted many handiwork projects in the past, and my closet was filled with many unfinished creations. I was determined that this time, things would turn out differently. I dreamed of presenting my chassan with a beautiful and unique gift, something worthy of him.

This goal became a great deal more involved than I could’ve ever imagined. First, I needed to pick a design. This was a much more involved process back in the pre-internet and Pinterest days of yore. I chose a theme close to our hearts; a Jerusalem-like skyline.

I drew the design on a piece of canvas and brought it with me to a crafts shop to pick out the threads. Somehow the canvas disappeared from my bag; either I’d dropped it, or someone had slipped it out of my tote, but it was gone.

Undaunted, I bought a new piece of canvas and redesigned my artwork. I purchased a book of unusual crewel stitchery, a set of needles, and that most ingenious invention, the little wire needle threader, and began my work. I had completed about 25% of the project when my fiancé, Allan, and I left to work in the Pennsylvanian summer camp where our story together had begun the previous summer.

The canvas was on the dashboard of the car when a sudden wind whisked it out of the window and into the mile-high weeds on the side of the highway. I begged Allan to exit the highway and retrace our steps. This is not as easy a feat as it seems.

It was hard to know exactly where to start our search. But Allan never backs down from a challenge, and a few minutes later I found myself forging my way through weeds that competed with trees for height and were certainly taller than I was. Just about 30 seconds before despair set in, I found my crafts bag.

I worked on the project constantly that summer, using any free moment to work toward its completion. One day, I hung it on hooks outside the dining hall and went in for lunch. The youngest group of campers was assigned to clean that porch that day, and in their zest to prove their worth, threw my bag into the huge dumpsters.

That frightful idea would never have occurred to me, but as I searched the porch for my artwork, an eager child proudly told me how they had climbed on benches to remove all bags from the hooks and then thrown everything into the rubbish heap.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 671)

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