I've missed the Pacific International Quilt Show just twice. Once when my sister's first home closed escrow and I helped her move out of their apartment the weekend of the Quilt Show. Once because I'd just started working after raising my kids.
Then September 11th rocked our world and all of us realized how fragile life was. I knew how my parents felt when Pearl Harbor was bombed. The Pledge of Allegiance suddenly took on deeper meaning. Patriotism and flags ruled. America was united in a way I'd never experienced.
It would sound trivial to say that I've never missed Pac Int'l since, unless you knew that it's not the quilt show that's important, it's all the friends who carve time out of their busy schedules every year to come. The quilt show is an excuse, a really good excuse, filled with gorgeous quilts and vendors galore. The real draw is seeing far-flung friends, catching up on family and jobs and health concerns, sharing our mutual creative enthusiasms, meeting new babies, passing around photos of our homes and gardens. Our yearly October get-together is a touchstone of friendship. I cherish our group photos taken through the years.
September 11th reaffirmed for me that friendship is a treasure that must be tended carefully and never taken for granted. So I take those days in October off year after year. I can make do without quite a lot, but I need my friends.