Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Warm and Pretty"

It is September 1923, and Dabney Fairchild is marrying Troy Flavin in the Fairchild family house in Eudora Welty's Delta Wedding, first published in 1946. We see all the hustle and bustle and the intricate weaves of the relationships of all the family members in this portrayal of a way of life is, for the most part, no more. Here is a short excerpt when hand-made quilts arrive the day before the wedding, sent by the bridegroom's mother:

But Troy was pushing his way into the parlor, intent.
"Look," he said, "everybody look. Did you ever think your mother could make something like this? My mammy made these, I've seen her do it. A thousand stitches! Look--these are for us, Dabney."
"Quilts!" Dabney took his arm. "Shelley! Come in and look. Troy, come speak to Aunt Tempe--she's come for the wedding. Papa's sister from Inverness."
But he flung her off and held up a quilt of jumpy green and blue. "'Delectable Mountains,'" he said. "Pleased to meet you, ma'am. I swear that's the 'Delectable Mountains.' Do you see how any lady no higher'n a grasshopper ever sewed all those little pieces together? Look, 'Dove in the Window.' Where's everybody?"
They all came forward and watched Troy spread out the quilts, snatch them together, spread them out again...

"What's the name of this quilt?" asked Dabney, arms on her hips.
"Let's see. I think it's 'Tirzah's Treasure,' but it might be 'Hearts and Gizzards.' I've spent time under both."

"Ma pieced that top of a snowy winter," said Troy gravely staring, his eyes far away.
"I wish I could make something like that," said Aunt Primrose gallantly.
"Not everybody can," said Troy. "But 'Delectable Mountains,' that's the one I am for Dabney and me to sleep under most generally, warm and pretty."

1 comment:

Bonnie Buckingham said...

A friend sent me this link because of this Year of Weddings : one of my sons in early March, another in June. This friend's son is getting married this summer AND my nephew is in August!
I had reread Hannah Coulter when my oldest married almost 3 years ago. I'm excited and put a HOLD at the library on this one. My sister has plans to make a wedding quilt too! Your blog seemed to echo our life conversations!