Monday, March 5, 2012

Single Crochet, Double Crochet

When I was in the third grade my grandmother attempted to teach me how to crochet, but I couldn't comprehend how to hold the needle and pick up stitches and drop stitches and count rows. Later, after she died, I found dozens of exquisite lacy pieces of crochet in all manner of patterns and sizes.  She had told me that she had never been able to crochet more than the simplest pieces, so the antique pieces must have belonged to her mother or grandmother.

In my 20s I sewed a lot of my own clothes and even learned to knit and purl but I could never figure out how to end stitches or bind off.  In my 30s I crocheted a simple shawl that didn't require anything more complicated than single crochet stitches.

Tonight I took a beginner's class in crochet.  My fingers remembered the way to hold the needle and how to make the chain stitch after all these decades.  We learned the double stitch and the slip stitch tonight; next week we make a pair of fingerless gloves.

On the way to the class I stopped at a favorite restaurant for an early dinner, only to find the only parking spaces were the ones with those awful automatic parking meters a block away.  You have to walk a block, pay $1.00 an hour via credit card or cash, get a piece of paper, walk back to the car, and put the piece of paper on the dashboard.  Everyone detests these things, so naturally they're everywhere.

Just as I opened my wallet to pull out a dollar bill a man shouted at me from across the street.

"Have you put any money in yet?"

"No," I said.

The street was empty and a middle-aged man in jeans and glasses ran over to me.  "I've got a lot of time left on my ticket," he said.  "If you want it," he added.

"Wow," I said, "you've just made a bad day better."

His car was parked behind mine, and he was right.  There were 45 more minutes left on his parking slip.  I thanked him, he grinned, got into his car, and drove away.  Later I wondered if I should have offered him money, but I didn't think about it at the time.

Instead I think it was probably his random act of kindness for the day.  Paying it forward.