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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Byron and the Jungle Gym

This is my father-in-law, Byron Henry Patek, who rose to the rank of Lt. Commander in the Navy. He was career Navy until he retired and served during WWII and after. After he retired he eventually moved back to Chillicothe, Mo. to join his brother at the family brick plant. I'm working right now with Edie McGinnis who is editing my book Flags of the American Revolution that will be coming out this summer or early fall. Both Byron and my father, Major Glover Wilson Laird (career Army - medical corps - he was a veterinarian) were responsible for both Pep and my strong love of country, flags and Americana.
Besides working on the book, what has brought Byron strongly to mind recently is the jungle gym. When our kids were little they used to climb all over me and I would say "I'm not a jungle gym" - hence the idea of really getting one. We have the space. Well, we looked at the jungle gyms available and Byron didn't like any of them. He didn't think they were durable enough for our kids. So he went back to the Brick Plant and got out his catalogs and designed a jungle gym out of pipe and pipe fittings. One weekend he drove down our gravel road and up the driveway with the jungle gym in the back of the pickup. It didn't fit inside, of course but sat on top and over the sides of the bed. He barely cleared the sides of the road in some places and under some trees - but he made it. It made my eyes leak this afternoon as I watched 4 of his great grandchildren climb it like the little monkeys they are. Aidan Patek is in the teal t-shirt, Byron Quinn Patek in the wonderpets outfit, Cullen Patek in the spiderman outfit (they're Max's - Byron Henry Maxwell Patek) and Zoie Findley (Kelly's daughter).
Behind the jungle gym is the entrance to the office where Tara works and the stairs to the loft where I work.
And speaking of working, people have been asking about this year's Girl Gang. Since some shops do their own versions of it, I decided to show it in tan they way I do the Mystery Quilt on the website. This is a really folksy Girl Gang - a Sampler, BOM type quilt that I so enjoy doing covering a lot of my favorite things. It's called "Sunny Days" but I almost called it "Back to Basics". The recession we're all struggling with has brought to mind what is really important in our lives and I tried to capture that in this quilt. I wanted to remind all of us that these days are sunny too if we focus on what we have - home, family & friends, gardening and pets and quilting .
And speaking of friends and quilting - you need to go check out Sandy Gervais new blog. You can hook up with her at Sandy and I and Bruce and Pep have done many a Market together. Besides being a really good designer, she's a great lady.
Well, you may not hear from me for awhile - I have to get the 1st Section of Girl Gang done, proof the book, and write instructions for patterns.
Oh and I have to start getting ready for Knoxville in July. Hope to see you there.
I'm sure I'll blog before then.


  1. My eyes are leaking a little, too. What a sweet story.

    Great Girl Gang quilt. Can't wait to see it in all your wonderful fabrics.

    Thanks for sharing the link to Sandy Gervais' blog. I just went to check it out -- she's too cute.

    Have fun in Knoxville!

  2. Yes, lovely story. Thanks for the Sandy Gervais link!! Looking forward to your book. You KNOW I like flags : )


  3. Jan
    Well we have lots in common - besides Americana, Moda designers, quilt markets - we both respect our military - and have personal reasons to do so - anxious to see your book, it will be wonderful.