At dinner last night, Anne mentioned that today would be the last day of the annual big American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah, KY. “Do you want to go”, she asked rather tentatively? “OK”, was all I said. You could have heard her jaw drop in the stunned silence that followed. So this morning, we found ourselves bouncing along various rural Illinois highways, on our way to Kentucky. We stopped for breakfast in Mount Vernon, IL. Out of the blue, she announced that when we got home, she wanted to buy the soundtrack to Sleepless in Seattle. We watched this movie together, a couple of weeks ago. While, she drove us in and out of 4G service, I downloaded it off of iTunes. We were listening to the melodious voice of Jimmy Durante, singing As Time Goes By, when we crossed the Ohio. I’m just that smooth.
We parked on the river side of the levee, the Ohio was not in flood, unlike the Mississippi at Saint Louis. Anne’s been to this quilt show many times before, well if not many, more than a few. On the few times that I accompanied her to Paducah, we had the boys of noise in tow. I would find something less crafty to do with them, while Anne did quilts. So, this was the first time that I’ve seen this mother of all quilt shows. I must say that I was impressed.
When Anne was first getting into quilting and was content with making baby quilts for all our friend’s and relative’s newborns, she joined a local quilting society called Circle in the Square. On her very first meeting, Suzanne Marshall of Clayton showed off her latest creation. It was amazing and made Anne feel a little intimidated. She was somewhat mollified later that year, when she saw that Marshall’s quilt had won a $10,000 prize at Paducah. Ms. Marshall’s entry this year also had a prize-winning ribbon on it. Suzanne wrote in the show’s catalog, “This colorful hand-quilted design was created, because the winter weather makes Suzanne hungry for spring.” Anne thought that this quilt was similar to the one that she saw lo these many years ago.
The sexual demographics at the quilt show were certainly skewed. Us males were vastly out numbered. The convention center had converted some of the men’s restrooms to women’s to handle this disparity. I was prepared for these eventualities, but I was not prepared for getting hit-on by so many quilters. One pair of women spoke to me and then later, after I had managed to palm my jacket off on Anne to carry, remarked to me again, “You can’t disguise yourself from us by taking off your coat. We still recognize you.” On the way home, whenever Stand by Your Man from Sleepless shuffled forward, Anne had to sing-a-long with it. Heck, I was doing the best that I can.
We didn’t close the show, but it was certainly winding down when we left. Anne was able to procure the necessary quilting supplies for her forthcoming project. We toddled home in an increasing rain. The Kaskaskia was well outside its banks. Anne joked that it had gotten out of its river bed and has been sleep walking over Illinois ever since. We made this trip on less than one tank of gas.