Honoring mama

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2009

Susan Berry and her cousin stood in the market both fighting back the tears that come from “missing mama at Christmastime.”

“Oh, Mama, how I miss her all the time but especially at Christmastime,” Berry said. “There are no champions like our mamas and there’s nobody we miss like mama.”

Back in the spring, thoughts of Berry’s mother, Sarah Frances Smith, came a-wash at the sight of a crocheted dishrag in the bottom of a drawer.

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“I came across one of Mama’s dishrags that had never been used,” Berry said. “It was just like the day Mama finished it and I could just hear her saying, ‘Well, I’ve got to go sit down and crochet me a new dishrag. I’ve worn this one out.’ Mama always crocheted her dish rags and I was so proud to find one that had never been ‘worn out.’”

Crocheting has long been an element in the ladies’ lives in Berry’s family.

Berry’s grandmother taught her to crocket and her mother taught her daughter to crochet.

“Funny, how we skipped a generation in teaching the art of crocheting,” Berry said. “But it’s always been a part of who we are.”

When the Colley Senior Complex featured Mary Turner in an art exhibition, Berry suggested that since Turner teaches crochet, it would be nice to have one room of the exhibition dedicated to crochet.

“I put three of my grandmother’s pieces of crochet in the exhibit,” Berry said. “Then, I had the pieces framed to give to my children. It cost me $88 to mail the piece to my daughter, Boo, in Seattle.”

But the cost paled in comparison to the expression of gratitude she got from her daughter.

“I got a note from Boo and she said, ‘Oh, Mama, thank you for the exquisite gift,’” Berry said.

“Exquisite gift. Crochet an exquisite gift. Crochet is so much a part of all of us. Why, Boo walks around with crochet in her briefcase.”

After finding her mother’s unused dishrag and the gratefulness of her daughter for a piece of her past, Berry decided that this year, at Christmas, she would honor her mother by crocheting dishrags and giving them to everybody she loves.”

“I told every one of them that the dishrags are to be used,” Berry said.

“And, I hope that every time they use these dishrags, they will think of their mamas and of my mama.”

Berry shared her dishrag art with others and has noticed that several women are making dishrags and passing them out.

“And, every time they do, they are honoring my mama,” she said.

Berry has made 200 dishrags — give or take a few — as Christmas gifts.

Each one was made with a lot of love and every one of them was woven “in honor of Mama.”