Friday, April 06, 2012


Circle Of Life Celebrated For Quilting Circle Member Polly Cole

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Circle Of Life Celebrated For Polly Cole,
A Star Member Of Her Quilting Circle

One by one they stepped forward, like pieces of a living quilt, to stitch and embroider the long and productive life of this beloved woman of many talents, one of which happened to be expert seamstress and renowned maker of quilts for special occasions: weddings, births, marriages, friendships.

Her name was Myrtle Pauline Griggs Cole, but commonly known as just Polly, Miss Polly, Aunt Polly, Wife, Mother, Grandmother or, most affectionately to many, MeMaw.

The most lengthy and most eloquent of the family tributes remembered the door of her house as always being wide open with coffee, tea, conversation and, of course, love, waiting inside. Besides all that, she was called a "true renaissance woman," perhaps in the truest sense of the meaning of that word: "rebirth or revival."

And, MeMaw's home was always, said this eulogizer, where her family gathered, as opposed, presumably, to some specific structure in some geographic area, whether or not cartographers had placed it on anyone's map. She was a beloved family matriarch who relished her God-given role.

He remembered her as a fantastic cook, famous for steaming hot sourdough rolls, and a gardener of flowers, shrubs, vegetables, always on the lookout for a root of this or a sprig of that to enhance her collection of nature's bounty.

Perhaps most poignantly, he recalled his MeMaw as an expert seamstress, who had made nightgowns for himself, his wife and perhaps many others in the family, but whose most regal claim to renown was as a quilter who designed and stitched quilts for just about any occasion one can suggest, all of which are now priceless heirlooms.

Touching the hearts of the entire congregation, this eulogist segued into the quilt as a metaphor of life itself. Despite its low-tech heritage, the quilt is at once a symbol of unique beauty, made often from leftover scraps, just as is the quilt of life itself. We put our lives together in much the same fashion, adding a root of this or a sprig of that, piecing it together as best we can with whatever scraps or treasures that life hands us as we make the journey. In that way, each of us becomes a part of life's quilt for our family and our friends, as they provide material for our own quilt of life.

"Threads of love" was the most memorable phrase used by this eulogizer in recalling his fondest memories of Polly Cole, his precious MeMaw, whose quilt of life he proudly called the masterpiece of one who truly understood the art of the quilting circle and that of life itself, one which she used to salvage every scrap of love that came her way and return it, multiplied many times over.

He concluded by saying that when others look at the quilt of his own life, that they can be glad of the life that his MeMaw helped him to create.

One grandchild said that he always knew his MeMaw loved him and that he even sometimes allowed himself to think that he was her favorite, but he understood that all the other grandchildren likely felt the same way.

Others called Polly Cole a strong, loving, spirited, selfless woman who treated others so nice that all thought they were special, obviously became all were special to her.

Hymns included Come Thou Fount and Sweet Beulah Land. Burial was at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, west of Winnsboro.

The funeral was officiated by Bro. Garry Gage, who read from Matthew 25:31-46, the story of the Son of Man separating one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. It's also the story of Jesus declaring that inasmuch as you have done these things to the least of these, my brethren, you have also done them for me: A reminder of Jesus' command that all of us love one another.

It was a fitting Scriptural conclusion for a loving woman who always had a smile for everyone who crossed her path of life.


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