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Crazy quilt of solitude; the voices haunt me ...

September 30, 2012
Messenger News

Talk about unnerving.

A few nights back I sat at my computer in a darkened attic room in a dark house playing a few extra rounds of Scrabble before calling it quits for the day. No music played. No motors hummed. Solitude at its best.

Then some man starts talking about the virtues of Mucinex. Out loud. Right next to me.

Not known to be calm under surprise, I might have startled the bats flying around my back yard if any bats fly around my back yard. If my neighbors woke up, I can't be sure, but I am sure I screamed. My flailing arms could have cold-cocked the intruder, but the intruder turned out to be just a voice.

How the hooey did that happen? What button did I hit that brought this disembodied voice to life? Normally I would say I don't care, but I do care. What if that happens some night when I'm sleeping? Nobody talks to me in my house, and I'm liking it that way. Most of the time.

Most of the time I'm alone. Always alone when playing Scrabble. If I'd wanted noise, I would have had music playing. I've gotten quite good at my duets with Willie Nelson and Tracy Byrd, so if I want noise, I'll make my own noise.

I made noise the other night when I was watching television and binding quilts for the big show. Which continues today, by the way, at the Career Education Building on the Iowa Central Community College campus. We'll be open till 4, I think it is. If you didn't make it yesterday, try to come today. With nearly 400 quilts on display, it's almost an overload of beauty.

I've got five things hanging in the show, and all had to have binding. I tried to get them to allow a quilt without binding, but that's a no-no. So I spent many evenings with quilts on my lap, trying to keep from sewing my fingers to the binding. Therein lies the screams.

Too bad I don't have friends willing to take over. At least willing to bandage the needle pricks.

Still, a person can't ask friends to do everything, even though friends will help when asked. Some people make good friends, really good friends.

If you're lucky, you're friends with Adrian McColley, LaVon Barkmeier, James and Sandy Batcheller or Stuart and Toni Cochrane. These are people who make the best of friends.

Maybe I could get one of them to sit in my darkened computer room to see what's going on in there when I'm not around. The computer sleeps when I'm not punching the keyboard, so it's almost always dark. I keep the house dark, even watching television without lights on. So you can imagine my wonder when I glanced down the hallway and saw light streaming from the attic room. Something has to bump the mouse to wake up the computer.

When I investigated, I found my rotating screen saver showing a photo of Colorado.

The man inside the computer must want me to visit my daughter again.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at



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