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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Uncle Bob's Legacy

Customer Projects - Get Inspired

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Uncle Bob's Legacy
Created By: Karen M Watson

In December 2005, my cousin Bob (who was always known as "Rocky" when he was little), turned 50. He was a single guy,never married. He lived alone in an apartment building, worked for a school district and was a computer whiz, a "techie". Just a few short weeks after his 50th birthday, he was found in his apartment, seated at his computer; he had passed away very unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.

His parents, my aunt and uncle, who are also my God parents, were distraught and heartbroken. This was their only son, and they were getting along in years themselves. Not to mention, my Uncle was in poor health, he was on dialysis, going to his local hospital several times a week for treatment.

When I traveled to my cousin's funeral from upstate New York, downstate to Carmel, there was a nasty storm which caused a power outage. The funeral was moved from the funeral home (which had no power) to my aunt and uncle's church, Trinity Lutheran in Brewster, New York.

As is my habit (ask anyone who knows me well!), I brought with me a crochet project. It happened to be an afghan, called Light and Lacy, which I was making in a beautiful garnet color. Seated in the church next to my uncle, I draped it over his thin legs while I worked on it, to help ward off the chill in the church (which had only earlier that day gotten power back after the storm). My uncle commented on it's beauty, and then told me about a prayer shawl that had been given to him recently by the Shawl Ministry in his church. He joked that he felt like a rabbi, or maybe Tevye, when he wore it. It was white with some blue stripes and fringe. While I was at the church, I asked one of the Deacons there for informationi about Shawl Ministry, which she later sent to me.

Little did our family know, that we would meet again at the church in Brewster, New York. Only four short months later, my uncle passed away from kidney disease. I promised myself that I would start a Shawl Ministry at my hometown church, Park Presbyterian, in Newark, New York. Since May of 2006, I have personally made and distributed over 30 shawls. I decided that, rather than to use the pattern given to me, I would adapt a version of the Light and Lacy pattern, but worked in 3's, for the shawls. Once word got out at our church, people have been leaving me bags of yarn, all colors and types, some full skeins, some partial, bits and pieces of odds and ends from projects they had completed. I decided that, rather than to discard the bits and pieces, that I would do my best to work them in to a shawl, kind of like a Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, if you will. My thought was that those pieces could be worked into a shawl, and would be like passing on little prayers from the folks who had contributed the yarn.

Once a shawl is done, I attach the card, and I try to have a couple on hand, in case of an unexpected need. They have gone to not only church folks, but friends and relatives of church people, each with it's blessing attached. I have even started doing a smaller version, worked in white, trimmed with pink or blue, that we hand out when a new baby is born or baptized at our church. I love the warm feeling I get when someone comes back and tells me a story about someone who has received one, and I thank my Uncle Bob for inspiring me to start this ministry at my church.

In addition to prayer shawls, I also try to donate afghans to groups which might need them for a raffle. Awhile back, I was part of the Caps to the Capitol Campaign through Save the Children, and sent 120 tiny baby caps in support of that project. Now, the little caps I make get sent to the NICU at Strong Memorial Hospital where my preemie daughters (now 24 and 28 years old!) both spent time. These little hats have also gone in bunches to places like Mexico, India, Viet Nam, South Africa and Ethiopia!

People know me as always crocheting--at meetings, in line at the drive through window at the bank, even in church during the sermon! It is my legacy to my dear uncle, who started my Prayer Shawl Ministry.

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