A sunny afternoon sometime in early spring or summer. Mr. Happy's oldest friend, let's call him Phil, is in town. We're all in the back yard. The boys are sitting in lawn chairs, enjoying the sunshine and some Keith's. Phil's got a cigarette on the go. I'm working on a flowerbed while they chat.
Phil is one of those friends that Mr. Happy has lots of history with - from high school hijinks, through who dated which girl, to your usual university apartment stories of who licked the last clean spoon after stirring their coffee. Phil was the best man at our wedding. He's best described as a charmer who, underneath it all, is a guy who looks out for his friends. He's the kind of guy that every elderly woman in the church just loved to pieces.
So there we are, on that sunny afternoon, in the backyard. Phil and Mr. Happy are retelling and laughing over the same old stories. But here's the clincher:
Every few minutes, Phil asks me to how he's doing with the knitting he has in his hands.
Yes, ladies, between beer and drags on his cigarette, he was working on his very first dishcloth. He asked me to teach him. I told him, as I watched him balance needles, cigarette and beer - "You've got to get rid of something, might I suggest the cigarette? Flammable string and a burning object just don't mix well."
Here's the other thing about Phil - he's the kind of guy who will try anything once. He's like Mr. Happy that way. According to the Legend of Phil, he once spent time learning how to make knife handles or silver belt buckles, I can't remember which, or maybe it was both.
Phil left town after that weekend with his own dishcloth and a promise that he would eventually sign up for a knitting class.
In conversations with Phil over the past couple of years, we talked about knitting. I held my breath each time and asked if he has signed up for a class. He said no, but said he knew he needed to do something to unwind. He has a business and several storefronts in Toronto which keep him busy and make him tense. I would cross my fingers at the end of each conversation.
Fast forward to this morning:
I'm on the phone with another one of Mr. Happy's friends. He informs me that he had breakfast with Phil the day before. Phil is apparently taking a knitting class AND he has quit smoking (yay).
I get Phil's number and call him at work:
Me: "Is it true? You're taking a knitting class with your mom?"
Phil: "Yup. It is. I can knit and purl."
Me: "That's so great!!! I'm so proud!"
Phil then sums up all of my proud momma bird emotions with this response: "Yeah, I'm one of your knitting soldiers now!"
Phil's wife is expecting a baby in February, she's due the day after my birthday, in fact. While this may have been the impetus behind the class, I hope that he keeps it up. I really hope that the baby will be coming home in one of daddy's handmade sweaters.