I was not one of the thousands of quilters who attended the AQS Quilt Festival in Paducah this year. Three years ago, I was there. It is something that anyone who quilts, who loves quilts, who loves fabric, who loves someone who loves all of the above should experience at least once. But once you’ve been, you know that once is not enough. And the fact that I wasn’t there was bad enough, but I was forced, by two of my best friends in the world, to suffer phone calls, not only ABOUT the festival, but FROM the festival.

The first was a message on my answering machine, Melody’s voice, with the background noise of hundreds of happy quilters:

“Its absolutely beautiful. I mean, it took my breath. I just wanted to touch base with you and we’re having a ball. Wish you were here. Spending a lot of money. I’ll get you something. See ya, bye!”

I listened to it twice to see if there was any hint of “nyah nyah,” but it seemed a genuine, “wish you were here” kind of a call. I took a chance. I dialed her number.

“Hey! Oh, you wouldn’t believe what you’re missing!”
(She’s still there!)
“These quilts are unbelievable!”
(Oh, rub it in!)
“We’re down by the swimming pool now, in the vendors' section.”
(This is just plain cruel!)
“Here, here’s Lisa”
(Not both of them!)
“Oh, you won’t believe what you’ve missed. It is just amazing. Where were you?”
(House of Foam and Fabric)
“So, what’s that, like third best?”
(Not even.)
“There are even more vendors!”
(Oh . . .)
“Nyah nyah. . .”
(Did she really say that?)
Lisa hands the phone back to Melody.
“You really should be here!”
(It’s only 650 miles. I could be there in 12 hours. What am I thinking!)
“Gotta go. See ya, bye”

The connection breaks. I sit down. Take a deep breath. There’s always next year.

I think I’m safe, but the next day, the phone rings.

“You and Melody are such bad influences!”
(Where is she? Oh, NO!)
“I just spent more money and it’s your fault!”
(WHAT? I’m still 650 miles away!)
“I’m at the quilt festival . . .”
“I came back and bought the rug hooking kit. And some hand dyed yarn, and its all your and Melody’s fault.”
(Oh . . )
“You should really be here.”
“Nyah nyah.”
(Did she really say that?)

The rest of the week end, I jump every time the phone rings, but am saved any more pain, until I remember that Melody said there’d be an article.

“Each April, Paducah, Kentucky hosts the American Quilters Society show and contest. Quilters come from all over the United States, and many foreign countries come to participate.”

Ah well, there’s always next year.