The Parable of The Scarf That Turned a Mom into A Hero

March 25, 2020

The Parable of The Scarf That Turned a Mom into A Hero


On November 28th, I receive an email from Valerie through the contact form on our website. She explains that she is trying to find a replacement for a treasured Seven Sisters felted silk scarf for her daughter: 


"A few years back my daughter’s dad took a felt rug making class in Northern New Mexico with a few of the sisters. [Coincidentally, 3 members of the Sharshembieva family had just been in northern New Mexico earlier in November, working with that same group of textile artists to finish the huge felted rug that Valerie's husband had started years before.] He then went to the Santa Fe market and [Zhanyl Sharshembieva]  gave him a scarf which he gave to my daughter. 


She wore it so much the silk broke down. Then she asked me to try to fix it  (since I can fix a lot of things ! ) but it is so delicate and such an unusual color that I really cannot make a good repair! 


So I have been looking for another scarf like that one since.   Part of why she loved that scarf is that it is a very unusual salmon pink color. Of course its also so beautiful and light and warm." 


Since I work directly with Zhanyl of Seven Sisters, it's easy to do custom orders. So the scramble begins, with hopes that we can get a new scarf to Valerie's daughter in time for a Christmas surprise. Valerie sends me two photos of the old scarf to illustrate the color, with the warning that neither photo really captures the true color.



So I send Valerie a photo that shows a range of colors that I think is what she's looking for. (When working with our artisans in trying to get a particular color, we rely on Pantone color chips. But there's always some variation in hand-dyeing, especially in small batches.) Fortunately, I've nailed the color range.


And now I contact Zhanyl by email, to see if Seven Sisters can produce a new scarf for Valerie's daughter by Christmas. No surprise--Zhanyl immediately takes on the challenge and goes to work! 

Since I personally love coral/salmon, and we don't want to waste dye or shipping expenses, I include 3 "extra" scarves (1 "regular" length and 2 short). More on that later. When the scarves are ready, Zhanyl lets me know they are ready to ship.

By that time, I realize that I will probably be in San Diego visiting my older daughter for the holidays by the time the FedEx package arrives. So I have Zhanyl ship the scarves from Kyrgyzstan to my daughter's house in San Diego instead of to my home in New Mexico.

Time passes, and the holiday shipping rush is on. I begin to lose hope that the scarves will arrive in time for Christmas. And then, on Sunday, December 22nd, FedEx drops the box off on my daughter's doorstep!

I quickly send Valerie an email message to alert her that her scarf is here, along with a couple of photos so she can choose which one of the long "regular" scarves she wants. Even though they were made at the same time in the same dye bath, there is some variation. One of scarves (on the left in the photo below) has more color contrast between the wool and the silk.


Valerie makes her choice, and I'm off to the local San Diego post office to mail the scarf. Valerie has said if it doesn't arrive before her daughter has to return to New York, she'll just send it to her later in the month. I hold my breath for the delivery, hoping against hope that it will arrive in time.

And then on Saturday, December 26th, I receive this email from Valerie:

"Hi Rikki, the coral/ salmon scarf just arrived -  hours before they will be leaving  -  it is so lovely,  Sam was so surprised and is so happy to have another to keep her beautiful and warm as she gets around on foot in New York."

It completely makes my day (and my week) to be able to help Valerie become the hero in her daughter's life. That's what I call an "everyday hero."

Most people harbor the dream (often secretly) of being a hero, and making a difference in the world. Where they go wrong is in thinking that to be a true hero, they have to be Wonder Woman, or Gandhi, or Mother Teresa, or Princess Diana, or at least someone with millions of views and likes on social media.

The reality is that most of us won't ever achieve that kind of international fame and acclaim. But that doesn't mean we aren't everyday heroes to the people in our lives. And the most lasting differences are those made by the collective efforts of millions of everyday heroes--LIKE YOU. 

And that's especially true in today's Covid-19 worldwide pandemic lockdown. In this environment, we're all starting to recognize the millions of "everyday" heroes that we never truly noticed or appreciated before--the health care providers, the grocery store clerks, the moms and dads who have suddenly become homeschooling parents, the neighbors who are helping out others not in a position to manage alone, the GrubHub drivers, the plumbers who come out to fix your refrigerator, the millions of furloughed workers who are becoming heroes to their inner circles just by being there to listen and reassure. And more recently, those tens of millions of people who are observing the "stay at home" orders to protect their neighbors, health care providers, and the health care system, even as it inflicts a huge economic and emotional burden.  Thank you!

And you must recognize that YOU are part of that worldwide wave of everyday heroes. Don't discount whatever you are doing. You are priceless to your people! Your everyday efforts ARE making a difference in the world.


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