Safety Pins

The other day, I found a safety pin I had carelessly left stuck in the arm of the couch. I had been using it for a knitting project and had been too lazy to get up and put it away. I still didn’t feel like walking all the way upstairs and putting it in the little dish I keep for safety pins, so I pinned it to the pocket of my housecoat. In an instant, I was 4 years old and sitting on my grandmother’s lap, fingering the safety pins she had pinned to the front of her dress. “Grandma, why do you have all these safety pins on your hummy dum?” The hummy dum was the built in pillow, otherwise known as enormous breasts. It was a wonderful place to take a nap with your thumb in your mouth when you’re 4 years old. The safety pins had no pattern, no decorative purpose, but Grandma told me that “You never know when you’re going to need a safety pin.” No doubt that was true. I considered taking that safety pin off my pocket, but I like it there. Each time I touch it, I think of Grandma. I’m much older now than she was then. Hard to imagine. Her hair was coal black and wound around the top of her head like a crown, except at night, when she unpinned it and let her braid fall over her shoulders. She wore roomy dresses every day of the week, usually with an apron, except on Sundays, when the dresses required a corset. During the week, her feet were either bare or covered in casual moccasin type shoes, but for church and funerals, she wore old lady shoes that tied on top with a chunky heel. She was about as wide as she was tall, which was probably shorter than I am now, but I thought she was beautiful. Sometimes she wore a broach on her dress when she was dressing up, but it was the safety pins that made her ensemble complete.

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