BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
—written by Barb
The sun shone brightly on this mid-September day, although the gentle breeze had to it a hint of fall. The blue sky was unbroken by clouds. The mountainsides were just starting to don their fall apparel of crimson and of gold.
Thirty-one year old Rachel Graybill sat on a bench, deep in the woods on the grounds of the Somerset (Pennsylvania) Historical Society. The society’s annual Mountain Craft Days arts and crafts festival was in full swing. Rachel munched on a homemade maple sundae as the river of show patrons ebbed and flowed around her.
Rachel loved coming here. She enjoyed dressing up colonial style and feeling as though she was stepping back in time the minute she entered the historical society grounds. She loved hearing the ring of the blacksmith’s hammer and the steady tapping of the stonemason’s tools. She loved walking through the “food court” and filling her lungs with the smell of barbecued beef and freshly made apple dumplings.
Rachel flashed back twenty-one years ago to the time she and her mother first began demonstrating needlework at the show. Actually, her mother did most of the needlework. Rachel had been a go-fer, dreaming of the day she would be able to exhibit her own needlework. She’d looked forward even more to the day she could bring her own children to shows such as this, and thus pass down this family tradition.
Reality had blown to bits this dream. At age fourteen, Rachel had been diagnosed with Turner’s Syndrome. One of its symptoms was limited manual dexterity, which ruled out being a needle worker, like her Mom. Of course, this gift had been in her Mom’s family for generations, and now it was gone. The circle was broken. Rachel had an unremitting feeling of uselessness and of having no place to belong.
Rachel could have accepted this situation if God had given her a gift in place of the one He had stolen from her. He hadn’t, though. Rachel had come to the conclusion that if God had no purpose for her, then she had no use for Him either. If only God had given her some gift to take the place of the one that He had stolen from her!
Rachel sighed as she tossed her now empty paper dish into a nearby trashcan, and then made her way back to the tent in which she and her mother were demonstrating needlework. The show was nearly over for the year. The number of patrons had dwindled, and now craftspeople were taking advantage of this lull to admire each other’s work.
The lady who shared the tent with Rachel and her mother did counted cross-stitch. She was saying to a friend of hers that Mountain Craft Days had been going downhill, but was now on the rebound. “I think it helps to have a craftsperson on the board of trustees,” she said, “even if for now I’m the only one.”
Rachel’s mind jumped into action. What a great idea! She could join the Somerset Historical Society Board of Trustees! Even if she could not continue her mother’s legacy of being a craftsperson, Rachel certainly could be an advocate for them at Historical Society meetings. She resolved silently to send her request for membership the next day.
Later that week, after the show was over and everything had been packed up and put away in the storage room until next September, Rachel thought of how she had lost her enthusiasm for the craft shows upon learning that she had Turner’s Syndrome. However, she had some peace in knowing that she could play some role in preserving this show and all of the traditions that it embodied.
To learn more about Turner’s Syndrome, click on the following websites: