Pearl rummaged through the bag of fabric squares and found old blue ribbons of past prize-winning crafts. Her grandson Josh sat on the other side of the table with his section of the quilt loosely set in his hoop. Josh had a knack for sewing and tailoring. A naturally creative designer, he worked on costumes over the summer for the local community theater group, and made some of his own clothes. Pearl was crazy about her shy grandson. He had a terrific sense of humor — just like her older brother, Eddie. Josh reminded her so much of Eddie. His green eyes, the crazy cowlicks all over his head, his quiet observation of the world — these qualities were both balm and guilt for Pearl.
Eddie went away when Pearl was fourteen, and the remaining siblings were told not to speak of him. Pearl remembered the loneliness of hearing her mother cry late at night in the privacy of her room. But she was still ashamed that neither she nor any of her siblings would join her in sorrow or comfort.
But times were different now. Josh wasn’t ashamed of who he was and neither were his parents. Pearl was old enough to know that her relationship with him would offer her some measure of redemption for the loss of Eddie.
They were working together on a craft submission for the county fair in August, and a quilt felt like a creative project with some practicality. “Hey, Grandma, let’s work some scraps of those old blue ribbons into the pattern,” Josh suggested.
“Wonderful idea, my dear. How about we turn them into the stripes of a rainbow?”