Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When you're not a quilter...

Not everyone who walks through the front door of Homestead Hearth is a quilter. Some of our visitors are very patient friends along for the ride. Some of our visitors are trying-to-be-patient children who have seen their fill of fabric. And some of our visitors are spouses who have a tolerance for fabric. Need we say more?

When any non-quilters arrive, we point out our gift items, food mixes, eateries on the square, and the antique store next door. For those who choose to remain in the building and wait, we bring out a chair, something to read, and a faithful companion.The other day Harvey decided to keep the spouse of one of our quilters company. Both of the guys enjoyed the latest issue of The County Register while keeping an eye on the front door. Ah, the joys of sharing a dog's life!

But sometimes spouses never set foot in the building. Sometimes they go for a walk while their partner shops--just not usually across the country.

"He's a retired anthropologist," Carole Fairbanks explained, "and says certain stages of life require a rite of passage. In his case he decided to walk across the United States."

Bill started his walk at Los Osos, California, in July 2009. Since Carole is "doing him a favor" by driving his support vehicle, Bill has encouraged her to take advantage of the many quilt stores along their route.

While Bill walks, Carole visits fabric stores or spends her time stitching at their hotel. Throughout the spring and summer they follow the lure of the open road, but when Thanksgiving nears they head back home to rest over the winter.

When will they finish? It's hard to tell. Visiting with folks along the way has caused a variety of detours to see some amazing things, and as Carole says, "This trip has grown like Topsy."

On the day we met Carole, the weather was hot and she was scheduled to pick up her 74-year-old strolling spouse close to Novelty, Missouri.

"He tells me his route when he leaves, and he tells me where to pick him up. He tries to select a place where I can turn around and where he can easily be seen."

Has the duo ever missed connections?

"Just once," Carole said. "He was on the other side of the median where there was a garden, but he saw me."

And the Fairbanks will be watching for each other for some time to come.

"We'll finish in Boston," Carole explained. "They claim every Fairbanks in the U.S. can trace their ancestry to the Fairbanks House, so that seemed a fitting destination."

Want to know more? You can follow Bill and Carole's journey by going to the following link:

Even if you're not up to walking across America, you can create your own "rite of passage" through quilting. You've probably already stitched a gift for a special birthday, a long-anticipated graduation, a milestone anniversary, a bittersweet retirement, a brand-new baby, or a wonderful wedding. Why not share your magical moments with us? Stop by the store, comment on this post, or share your creations on Facebook. We'd love to share your creations in celebration of simpler times.

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