Lace (First Snowfall) ~ (sample)


From Dad I know my grandfather Chalk was pale, short, heavily / muscled, with forearms big as hams (fists like sledgehammers):  / a man I did not know, for we met when I was an infant.

I know that he was a smithy, a mechanic, a wildcat oil driller / and a businessman. His wife Iva Pearl Shattuck was a grammarian / and school teacher. During the Great Depression they paid off / company debts rather than declare bankruptcy. Chalk scrambled / for money. He resurrected an old still of crafting fine Irish- / style lace or tattering to bring in money for food to feed his / family. What he and Iva did was a sort of fine lace: they / knitted together essentials and kept their family whole.


Hard times return and pain collects. During our Great Recession / I’ve watched as a first snowfall knit together branches of / deciduous trees into natural finery and a semblance of lace.

I put aside most of what I know of Chalk, all but an image of / him with battered hands and gnarled fingers weaving fine lace / for Iva, Claire, Bonnie, Ruth and her twin brother Richard / (who would become my father). Now, these people – and my mother / Sally Kirkpatrick – are all dead; I am the last McBride of my / line. I carry my grandmother’s maiden name with pride. As I / work on what has become essential, I keep this fine thing – / this work of love – before me in gratitude and as example.

Dedicated to the memory of Leslie Otho “Chalk” McBride (1892 to 1968) and Iva Pearl Shattuck McBride (1894 to 1977)

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
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