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An Angel from Mamaw

A boy’s grandmother handcrafts a heavenly guardian that watches over him still.


It was getting late for an eight-year-old child to be up, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Mamaw Clark. She sat in her rocker, weaving a strand of thread through her fingers faster than a sewing machine needle.

“What are you doing, Mamaw?” I asked.

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“Oh, child, I’m jus’ gettin’ a little tatting done,” she said.

“What’s tatting? It looks like a bunch of knots.”

Mamaw smiled. “These ain’t regular knots. Each one has a name and a special place in the pattern.”

I leaned in closer. Delicate white beads were held together by various knots and loops—cow hitches, half hitches, she described them all.

“It may not look like much, but soon it’ll be an angel,” she explained. “Now go on and get some sleep.”

The next morning I woke to a sweet surprise: Mamaw’s tatted angel hung from a string above my bed. She was whiter than fresh snow, and her halo and wings were laced with the tiny beads. “Oh, Mamaw, the angel is perfect!” I shouted.

“She will always watch over you,” said Mamaw. Back home I tied the angel to the head of my bed.

Through the years, until she passed away, Mamaw tatted everything from snowflakes to butterflies and doilies. But my favorite will always be my angel. And I have a feeling it’s not the only one watching over me.

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