Along with a skiff of snow and the coldest temperatures we’ve had in over a year, this month began with the passing of my dear friend and fellow quilter, Debra Henderson. She was a very active, prolific quilter. Everyone in her family had quilts she had made with love for them.
But she didn’t stop there. She spread her love for our community by creating quilts every year for local non-profits, to be used as fundraisers. She made wonderful Alaskan motif quilts starring moose and bears for the Emergency Services. For the Library, a gorgeous king size “Storm at Sea”. In 2016 alone, she made nine bed size quilts for raffles and auctions here in our little community
Deb, along with her sister Linda, was also responsible for organizing our local quilt retreats held at the Fairgrounds every spring and fall for the past several years. We had a great time sleeping on camp cots, dining on great food we all brought for pot luck and enjoying the company of our group of twenty or so girlfriends from Homer to Anchorage to Wasilla. We would stay up late into the night sewing, visiting, and playing “strip poker” to see which of us would win the pile of colorful fabric strips that made up the “kitty”.
“Sew Saturdays”, held once a month at the Senior Center, were Deb’s brainchild, too. We would bring our current project to work on for the day. There were plenty of oohs and awes for our fabric choices and sage advice from the more experienced among us for those who needed help. We enjoyed more potluck food and recipe sharing, local news and gossip and the chance to get away from TV football. But most of all, we reveled in the chance to be together knowing Deb would be there to welcome anyone who cared to join us.
She was a jewel of our community, always working under the radar to help a needy family or get the word out about someone who needed prayers for a sick child.
As I sit here today, the day of her memorial service, I’m trying to think of what would be an appropriate way to honor such a thoroughly kind and giving person. She never sought attention or recognition for her good deeds. I’m thinking that perhaps the best way to demonstrate my regard and love for such a dear friend would be to pick up just one of the projects she loved and make sure that it continues bringing joy and closeness to those of us who live on in our little village.