The material girl: we reap what we sew

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer January 18, 2013 08:30 am

Like the herd of antelope drifting along on the winter wind Thursday in the Grande Ronde Valley, sometimes the winds of life blows in unexpected ways.

In my case, the winds blew me into a fabric store. For a man it’s the next thing to shopping at Victoria’s Secret in terms of being out of the comfort zone.

OK, so I’m as old as Eagle Caps granite, and my comfort zone is shrinking. I remember when “The Material Girl” was released by singer-songwriter Madonna in 1984. It was scandalous. The song is about materialism. It’s about living a life of splendor rather than one centered on love and relationships.

Real life is the opposite, for most of us. We don’t win the Powerball. We don’t have someone mopping our kitchen. For most of us, after the dust of the American dream has settled, life becomes more about relationships and less about material gains.

It boils down to being thankful for what we have, not feeling bad about what we don’t have.

Alas, the Wonder Woman, my wife since 2011, the woman I connected with over the Blue Mountains, is a material girl. But not the kind you may think. She loves, adores, is transported by fabric stores. She is always talking about bolts, but not the kind that hold together a car.

Yes, since becoming married on 9-10-11, I have learned more about necklines and waistbands than I have about football concussions. Now, basting has more to do with sewing and less with Thanksgiving turkey.

Heaven and hell

Admittedly, I cringe when I see a fabric store but go in anyway. It’s a chance to practice unconditional love as Teri fondles a rainbow of fabrics. Teri is in heaven. I am in fabric hell. 

As the Canadians say, “No worries.” I want to understand what stirs her passions, although to this point that understanding is as elusive as the heroine in a Janet Evanovich novel.

Often, Wonder Woman has me in stitches. She has as sure a hand on a sewing machine as she does on humor. She can’t help but be funny, and makes seamless transitions between jokes. 

Being married to a material girl is OK. Great. Terrific. We buy what we need, and try not to ogle at shop windows or practice envy, a deadly sin. 

The bigger point is, of course, we’d like to be rich. And we are, at least in terms of relationships. We reap what we sew in life, whether that is a quilt, a scarf or a relationship. Having experienced marriage before, its up and downs, I’m happy when Teri talks about alterations that she is referring to a sewing project and not to me.

Reach the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it