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Friday, June 03, 2005

the tale of the lion

This is the story I spoke of yesterday.

Over 23 years ago, I was separated from my (now ex) husband, had 2 small boys, a full time job, volunteered at the National Aquarium, but I didn't know any male adults I wasn't related to or didn't work where I worked. I decided to answer a City Paper personal ad. I was really just looking for somebody to go to the movies with, have an occasional burger, that sort of thing. I wasn't looking for a relationship, I had 2 small kids to raise and more than enough to worry about with a potentially ugly divorce.

I answered a personal ad in the local City Paper and met a wonderful man and started dating him. In the first part of the romance, I had to have surgery (already planned) and stay home to recuperate for a few weeks. I knew this man liked lions - I had seen his drawings in his apartment. So I decided to crochet a lion for him.

Now this is a risky business, crocheting a toy for a man. Especially a man that I didn't know that well, a man who I had no idea would even accept a crocheted lion. But I figured "what the heck" and made the lion anyway. I made him out of the Dazzle* (Dazzle-Air?) yarn, which is soft and silky and works up wonderfully. (By the way, the company stopped making that yarn, I have no idea why, it was great yarn.) I took this particular toy apart about 6 times. I fussed over the embroidery of the eyes and the nose and especially the mouth. I prefer the toys I make to have a big smile on their faces. But I usually start by embroidering the eyes. If I can get the eyes just right, then I advance to the nose and mouth. I finally was satisfied with the lion - not _perfectly_ satisfied, but I can only take something apart so many times before it makes me nutty.

And then I had to wait to see him for a date. Wow, that was difficult because I was already fairly certain I was in love with him, but I didn't know how he felt about me. And how would he react, a little toy from a woman he barely knew? He could have laughed at me, or worse yet, made an unkind remark about the little lion. So to "sweeten" the deal, I baked some banana bread to give him. I mean, who doesn't like banana bread? I'm sure somebody somewhere doesn't, but I don't know anybody _personally_ that doesn't like banana bread.

Finally we had our date. I nervously presented him with both gifts, trying to act more confident then I really felt. The lion, of course, had a lot riding on his shoulders. The banana bread, well, that's just a recipe from a cookbook, but the lion was from my heart. If that was rejected...well, I just didn't want to think about it.

Luckily for me, he loved the banana bread and the lion - and me (but I didn't know that last part at the time). He was quite taken with both gifts and I was quite taken with him. The relationship grew more serious and we married almost 22 years ago. There has been ups and downs, all relationships have them, but it's been mostly ups. Along with the first lion (which was yellow & tawny) I gave him, he now has a white lion that I made and a small white lion ornament that I tried to fashion to look like "Kimba"** and a white lion afghan. It's great to be able to use my skill, my hobby, to create something for somebody I love and have it work out so perfectly.

I would advise anybody who creates something (crochet, embroidery, draw) for another person to carefully observe that person's reaction. As long as you didn't create something hideous - a harvest gold and avocado green poncho made out horrible scratchy yarn, or smush rabbit feces on a canvas and claim it's "art" - the person should be happy to receive the gift. If the person acts as if it's a huge bother to have what you made or basically tosses it aside, this is _not_ a person you should consider investing a lot of time in. If you choose to ignore this reaction or misinterpret it, you will be letting yourself in for a lot of hurt.

And that's another story for another time.

*no, I _still_ don't get a kickback from the yarn company.

** "Kimba" is the name of a Japanese cartoon seiries about a white lion (see www.Kimba.us for more info)

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