Memories of hobbies


Maybe you didn’t know that January is Hobby Month, but I find that it is, and I have to say that this is a likely time of year to honor such a month. Especially if it’s an indoor hobby. With ugly, mean, harsh weather happening regularly lately, I have been inside without human company more often than I really like.

I’ve decided I probably need to ramp myself up in the hobby department. For years when my children were little, it felt like my hobby was being able to sit down in peace at the end of the day and read the newspapers, hopefully before I fell asleep. Before I was a mother, I used to sew and do handwork, but that went by the wayside, too, when busy little hands wanted nothing more than to help me.

And then when everyone got older, much of what could have been my hobby time was spent with their school activities. I wouldn’t have traded the time I spent watching plays, concerts, ball games, speech contests, and cross country meets for anything else.

Somehow I’ve never gotten back into those old hobbies. You could say my hobbies now revolve around warm weather activities like bicycling, gardening, and puttering around my acreage. That’s all fine except that the season to do those things doesn’t last all year.

For centuries, I read, humans had to devote almost all of their energy to just surviving. There really wasn’t any free time. By the mid-1800s, though, that was changing as people had regular work hours and more time to pursue interests that gave them personal satisfaction.

My grandmother, born in 1896, was a pro at keeping herself busy doing productive things she enjoyed. She had her daughter, my mom, embroidering quilt blocks at age four, and I wasn’t much older than that when she introduced me to embroidering a tea towel for my mom’s Christmas gift. I made pot holders from loops strung on a small loom, too. Later, she showed me skills that included how a hem should be properly put in a garment, and how to sew on a button.

And she was always patient with me, even when I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard when she told me the back of an embroidered piece should look as good as the front.

I expect she hoped to get me started on a hobby I could always enjoy and appreciate during this hobby month and beyond, and I guess she did because I still have those skills. Even more, perhaps, she left me with memories I still enjoy and appreciate.