MORE Tastes of Home
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Ruby set to sewing for her boys. They added three children to their flock. More sewing. After supper, when the table was cleared and dishes washed, Ruby would bend over the machine, churning out clothes for her children and her neighbors. Thousands of dresses and shirts and pants. Clothes for dolls. Clothes for the minister's wife in town. Prom dresses. Wedding dresses. The Singer raised its needle millions of times. Her family would fall asleep under the Ruby-made quilts, lulled to sleep by the Singer hum.
Her family would fall asleep under the Ruby-made quilts, lulled to sleep by the Singer hum.|
I went to a sewing machine store the next day to buy a new one. Her old one was metal. The new machines are plastic and have computers and cost the same as Ruby's first car. They give classes on how to use them. In the display window was a 1948 metal Singer blackhead.
"Does that one work?" I asked the man.
"I don't know," he said. "Let's plug it in." He plugged it in. It hummed to life.
"It's not for sale," he told me. "It's a display. There aren't a lot of these old Singer Blackheads around anymore."
I told him about Ruby -- how she lives by herself and sews to keep busy, how she only charges six dollars to make a dress because the people she sews for don't have a lot of money, how a lot of times she doesn't charge a dime, how sewing is her ministry.
He sold the machine to me for twenty-five dollars.
The next weekend we hauled it down to Ruby's. She was sitting on the front porch, watching for our car to round the corner on the gravel lane. She came outside and stood by the car as we opened the trunk. As she peered down at the '48 blackhead, a smile creased her face.
"It's just like my old one," she whispered.
We wrestled it inside and installed it in her old cabinet. Perfect fit. Plugged it in. When Ruby heard the hum, she clapped her hands.
It's still going strong. Ruby still charges six dollars a dress -- unless it's a bride's dress; then she sews it by hand. That'll cost you fifteen dollars, but only if can afford it.
Ruby travels north to visit her granddaughter Rachael. Rachael shows Ruby her Barbie doll, then asks Ruby if she could maybe please sew some new clothes for Barbie. The first night Ruby is home, she bends over her '48 blackhead, stitching matching dresses for Rachael and her Barbie. Way past midnight she sews. The next morning she drives to town and mails a package northward. Three days later the phone rings. It's Rachael calling to say "Thank you" and "I love you" and "When can I see you again?"
On two other occasions, my wife and I found 1948 Singer blackheads in antique stores. We bought them and gave them to Ruby. She's got a lot of sewing ahead, and we don't want her to run out of sewing machines before she runs out of things to sew.
I don't always applaud every new thing that comes down the road, though I'm grateful that in 1948 electricity made its way down Grimes Lake Road. I'm grateful, too, for a woman who sews way into the night, who dispenses love one stitch at a time.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
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Article copyright © 1996-97, Randy Becton. Used by permission.
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