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One of the things I most admire about my children is that they are always eager to help each other out. It doesn’t matter what hair-brained scheme is afoot, if a member of the family is doing it, it is not only sanctioned by the rest, it is cheered on (or egged on), advertised, and assisted in any way possible by the others. I am not aware of any illegal activities associated with these projects, but I suspect that even if there were, the three would be there in a flash to help each other. An admirable thing…however, a bit like lemmings rushing blindly into the sea.

And so it is that L’il Sis has recently been brought into Crazy D’s world of cycling. Not to ride bikes, but to sew equipment relating to his riding. She repairs rips in shirts, replaces zippers in athletic bags filled with his gear,  fashions belts and pouches for him to organize his various tools and supplies. For a long race, he sometimes has enough stuff with him to stock an entire apartment. The bike, his pride and joy, gets lost in the shuffle. All you can see are pouches and bags and bottles — like a thousand tubrous growths bulging everywhere.

We found ourselves before dinner, the table laid not with knives, forks and plates, but tiny wrenches, screwdrivers, and miscellaneous other metal tools. L’il Sis had agreed to sew a belt for Crazy D to wear on his long distance ride, a belt to house these tools so he will have everything at the ready when his bike breaks down in the middle of the mountains or deserts of the U.S. this summer. I suggested that he simply call AAA, but that was met with a snarl. You will recall, dear readers, that this is the same fellow who is forbidden from doing household repairs…since he doesn’t know his hammer from his drill. No matter..apparently hammers and drills are not required on this upcoming bike venture.

Crazy D had mapped all the tools out very carefully on a piece of paper and then laid them all on top to show L’il Sis precisely what he wanted. Patterns were made, fabric chosen, sewing begun. I was happy to see them collaborating on such a project. I have to admit, this wasn’t exactly what I had imagined when L’il Sis went to fashion design school. I had pictured her winning an Oscar for costume design (I’m a mother; I dream big) but even I have to admit that doing more practical, down-to-earth projects is more realistic. Maybe there is a market out there, an untapped supply of crazy bike riders like Crazy D who might want her belt designs.

Gill always enlists L’il Sis’ help when the seasons change to add to her wardrobe. They have one basic skirt pattern and L’il Sis fashions it according to the warmth needed.Wool for winter, Gill’s beloved seersucker for summer. Blue, grey, or beige. Blue and white striped, white and blue striped. Her demands are few and simple. L’il Sis does not deviate from the plan or she will bear Gill’s considerable wrath. Although L’il Sis did find some flowery red fabric and snuck it in when Gill wasn’t on guard. Miracle of miracles, Gill was feeling jaunty and devil-may-care -ish that day and still loves the skirt.

Whenever Crazy D or L’il Sis require a letter, resume, or job application — something that begs for a Golden Pen, Gill steps in to fashion something worthy of the Giller. While I grant that these things do not normally fall within the broad category of ‘fiction’, they often do by the time Gill has finished. As I write this, Gill  has a potential project that will require Crazy D’s expertise at making and recording funny noises. He’s onboard to help. Little did I know all those ‘group efforts’ during their school years (some might call it cheating, we call it collaborating) have turned out to be useful after all. One must be grateful for small mercies… I’m pleased that the three of them learned SOMETHING at school.