Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Stitching together the pieces of life


One constant I’ve noticed in myself as I’ve grown older is that I’ve become more reflective. Perhaps that comes with age, but there are times when I see or hear something and it makes me physically stop and reflect.


Such was the case recently on a late afternoon as I was returning from a short walk down the road. I had pushed away from many hours at the keyboard to give myself a break. Walking is good for my recovering hip and good for the soul.


While we have had warm weather recently for January in Wisconsin, it’s been cloudy and foggy.


The days have been slowly getting longer, but we’ve missed the sunshine. In a case of better late than never, as I was finishing my walk the setting sun broke through the cloud cover.


I live in a valley at the end of a country road, so our days are always a little bit shorter because of the surrounding hills. As I glanced up at the sky, the barren trees and the patchwork of clouds were backlit by the setting sun.


The pieces of clouds reminded me of a patchwork quilt, which immediately made me think about my late great-aunt Sara Clair. Aunt Sara made hundreds of quilts in her lifetime. While she never had any children of her own, she blessed each great-great niece or nephew with a homemade quilt as a welcome-to-the-world gift.


Aunt Sara also had a loom where she made rag rugs, expertly crafted from scraps of rags and fabric that she accumulated over the years. It was a skill taught to her by my great-grandmother who never threw anything away that could be reused or recycled into something else.


Sometimes I feel that my life is like a quilt. Each and every day we recreate something new of ourselves from the fragments of our experiences and the new day’s challenges that await.


Some days we feel more whole. Some days we feel more like the pieces. But we patch it all together the best we can knowing that there is no such thing as the perfect quilt. What’s beautiful to some is ugly to others.


At Aunt Sara’s funeral in 2004, the church pews were adorned with the dozens of quilts that family members brought. Many were worn and torn from years of use. But woven into each and every fiber of those quilts was the fabric of love.


One of the best things about my job is meeting and helping people. I view economic development through the eyes of people. It’s much more complicated than that, of course, but in the end, the success, health and wellness of our region resides not in buildings, development or statistics, but in people and in our sense of community.


How can I help you today?


What can I do to help you piece together your quilt?


How can we stitch together a welcoming community, full of caring and love?


Chris Hardie spent more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won dozens of state and national journalism awards. He is a former president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Contact him at [email protected].

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