Got home to a big square box sent through the mail from my sister Irene, the only one of my six siblings still alive.
I opened it to find a small quilt, the kind she's been making for years (we hang one up she made for my little guy many Christmases ago every holiday season). This time it was one she made for me.
On one side it's made up of black and white panels depicting scenes from Manhattan, incorporating buildings like the old Woolworth Tower, The Empire State, The Flat Iron Building and The Chrysler Building. All structures I grew to love many years ago as a boy and young man and now are like familiar members of a small circle of old friends.
The other side has patches of different sizes with musical notations going in every direction and musical instruments and bits of the Manhattan cityscape and that symbol (my post-brain-surgery mind can't pull up the old once so familiar term for it) that starts out a bar of music before the notes—all of these black and white too. And here and there among all this cacophony of music signs and symbols and bits of Manhattan architecture is the occasional small square of deep red and black tinier squares, like a mini-checkerboard or the pattern on one of my old flannel shirts when I was a kid.
My sister plays the piano, very well. All my siblings and I played instruments. I chose the piano too, because of my big sister Irene (I was the youngest and the one between me and the others passed away as an infant so there was a gap between me and them). Only she played mostly for charity, like at "The Old People's Home" when we were kids, or at church(es) later on, while I pursued it a little more as an artistic statement, etc.
The card that came with it is so loving and matter-of-fact (like about the arthritis in her fingers giving her trouble with the seams) it brought tears to my eyes. Ah life. Full of so many lovely surprises and connections and unfoldings. May it always be so.