Family History · Knitting

Friendship and the Polar Vortex…

On a chilly morning last week, I received a message and photo from a friend I’d seen only once or twice in the last twelve years, since they moved to suburban Minneapolis, one of the coldest areas in the “Polar Vortex.” Although we were cold in Atlanta, complaining about temperatures below freezing with unusually dry air, layering ourselves with our usually adequate cotton sweaters, the news reports from across the nation made us feel fortunate: Detroit/Minus 14 Degrees, Chicago/Minus 21 Degrees, Bernard, Iowa/Minus 31 Degrees and International Falls, Minnesota/Minus 40 Degrees, school and factory closures… It’s safe to say this southern girl simply cannot imagine being that cold! I was not sure what a “Polar Vortex” was, so I looked it up.

“Vortex” refers to the counterclockwise large area of low pressure and cold air, which is always surrounding both of the Earth’s poles, and is stronger in the winter. (the National Weather Service,

When Michelle sent me this picture, it warmed my heart! She followed with a message about Minus 30 being expected in Minnesota that night, but she was wearing the scarf I’d made her when they moved away twelve years ago, keeping her “toasty” in the cold weather, a “gift that keeps on giving.”

When I saw the picture, something clicked…while I made a colorful shawl last year, which Lucy received for Christmas, I kept looking at a red wooly yarn, maybe a fist-sized ball. I knew I had made a dropped-stitch scarf with it for somebody special a long time ago. I used the leftover yarn for single or double rows throughout the shawl for Lucy.

Michelle and I became friends while teaching Vacation Bible School, while our daughters played together in the church nursery, becoming best friends among the blocks, Noah’s Ark, and of course the playground. As they grew, all of us were busy with Sunday School and church activities, sleepovers (pancakes for breakfast!), Brownies and Girl Scouts (with mommies as leaders), driving together to their first sleepover camp, starting Middle School and Youth Group, both girls volunteering at Los Ninos Primero, a preschool for Hispanic children, and summer youth trips.

The weather is (finally!) warm this week, and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring, but it’s friendship that keeps our hearts warm!