LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Sisters Quilting Bee Weekend

We’re not certain what constitutes sufficient numbers to be able to call a gathering such as the one I attended this past weekend a “bee,” but I was invited by my older sister to a “quilting bee,” so by gosh I’m going to call it a “bee.”

I was a member of this bee, held in the Bad Lands south of Medora, N.D., by the invitation of my elder sister. My younger sister and I drove over together. She asked me if I had ever done this and confirmed that she had not.

I asked her how old little sister is because this helped me determined how long it had been since I had last quilted. Little sister was a baby in a bassinet the last time that my mother put up the frame in our Slope County living room and we quilted with Mama Crook, my paternal grandmother. The bassinet was tucked under the quilt frame allowing us to keep an eye on her. Thus, for me, it had been more than 45 years since I had quilted.

There was a great deal of laughter and self-poking of fun at lack of needle skills. The quilt we were working on was pieced about 30 years ago. There was plenty of becoming acquainted and sharing stories. The hospitality was very fine indeed, with much delicious food shared with those of us who had traveled from afar to “assist.” (I hesitate greatly to describe the work I did with my needle “helping.”) We each fell into our own rhythm as the day progressed.

We also shared our memories of ancestors’ quilting activities and the beautiful craftsmanship we have seen on display as well as in our personal collections of quilts. We talked of what bees would have been like in bygone days and of quilt auctions we’ve all attended as fundraisers.

Then, it was time to put away the work for the day and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, dining on rich Irish stew and freshly baked soda bread. We compared pin pricks on fingers and sore muscles from a hunched-over day’s work.

The weekend ended with a good night’s sleep in the silence of the Bad Lands, followed by fellowship this morning at the Medora Lutheran Church, and … more food!

Life has surrounded me with good people — and the best two sisters a gal could wish for.

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Lillian Crook

A retired librarian, Lillian Crook is an Army child but completed her junior high and high school education while living in North Dakota’s Slope County, where her parents retired to her mother's family farm and ranch. She completed a bachelor's degree in English from Dickinson (N.D.) State University and a master’s of library science from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and was an academic librarian at DSU for 26 years. She later worked for Theodore Roosevelt National Park as a museum technician and volunteered for TRNP in many capacities. She is married to Jim Fuglie, is an avid reader, gardener and birder and enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, photography and writing, is the mother of twin daughters and loves yoga. She and Jim run Red Oak House Books and Publishers from their home. Lillian is the founder of Badlands Conservation Alliance, a grass-roots voice for wild places in western North Dakota. Bullion Butte is the center of her universe, and she is happiest when floating the Little Missouri River. Her blog, WildDakotaWoman.blogspot.com, consists of random thoughts on wild places and musings on life in Red Oak House of Bismarck. She can also be followed on Twitter @WildDakotaWoman. She takes heart from one of her favorite writers, Terry Tempest Williams, who wrote, "If you know wilderness like you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. We are talking about the body of the beloved, not real estate."

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