A Simple Stitch: A Time to Mend

Deb Obermeier

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…” it was a period, not of “Star Wars” and rebellion, not of spaceships and hustle and bustle, not of the rat-race and life in the fast lane. It was a “simpler time.” It was a time to pour yourself a cup of coffee, get a quilt and go sit out on the porch swing with a good book. And that book should be Deb Obermeier’s “A Simple Stitch: A time to mend.” As the title suggests, this is not a book to teach you how to “get rich or die trying.” It’s not a book for people who want to “live fast and die young.” This is a book for people who prefer a simpler life, not full of endless distractions and meaningless fleeting pleasures. This is a book for people who cherish faith, friends, and family just like its main character, a woman named Eliza. Eliza is a woman we should all aspire to be like. She is selfless and caring. She is warm-hearted and loyal. She is a woman who always puts others ahead of herself and is a faithful servant of people. In this particular book, she spends the majority of her time taking care of her brother, Oliver, who at the opening of the book, has “fallen (off a ladder) and he can’t get up.” Oliver is old and “set in his ways” to put it mildly, and all he thinks he needs is a little bit of help to get up and into his house. Eliza, who we find can be just as intractable as her brother but in a “kinder, gentler” way, isn’t having any of that. Instead, with the help of a nephew CJ, gets Oliver to the hospital. And from there on, it’s “a time to mend.” The mending will take place at Oliver’s “Slipknot” homestead which comes to be the place of mending for caregiver and patient alike. Eliza, it turns out, according to “Uncle Ben,” needed “some sun on her shoulders and dirt under her nails.” That phrase seems to be a metaphor of sorts that will have a somewhat different meaning to each individual reader of this brilliantly well-crafted novel which may be more fact than fiction. How many Oliver’s do we have in this fast-paced culture that need to take “time to mend?” It turns out “breaking a leg” was just what “the doctor ordered” for Oliver. And aren’t we thankful for the Eliza’s that seem to find their fulfillment in helping others and making life better for everyone around them? However, even Eliza learns something is missing in her life, an empty feeling she can’t seem to shake. Then we meet…Jon…and Annie, Sam and Amanda, Aunt Mildred and even a scarecrow named “Ruth.” There are plenty of other characters and subplots in this book, but it would be a worthy read if just for the dynamic of Eliza and Oliver and the deeper meaning behind each character and what they represent in our society. Each of these characters, just like each of us readers, no doubt, need to mend in our own way from time to time. By the same token, we must each find our own version of “Slipknot,” that retreat from the chaotic ebb and flow of our increasingly busy but perhaps less meaningful lives. The metaphor of Slipknot alone should  be a catharsis for most people too busy chasing the “American Dream” to take time with Eliza to plant a garden and find joy in that “sun on their shoulders and dirt under their nails.” So reader, go get this book, a cup of coffee, a quilt, and enjoy your stay at “Slipknot” for it truly is a “Time to mend.”