The Parkins PointBlock Number: 74
By Nora Worthen
This is a story of two families in McDowell County who experienced the spirit of Christmas through the joy of giving and the joy of receiving on Christmas Day 2010.
The givers are Randall and Leslie Parkins and their two children Makenna, age 9 and Rylan, age 3. The receivers are Walter and Roseann Parkins of 10 Tanya Drive in Nebo. The joy of receiving was experienced with a surprise Christmas present of a 3’x3’ quilt block they named “Parkins Point.” This, the 74th quilt block, was installed on the north-facing wall of the home of Walt and Roseann on Saturday last by Mike Lucas of the McDowell Quilt Trail.
It all started with a visit into Yancey County when Makenna, Rylan, and their grandmother, Roseann, played the “I spy” game by “spying” the many quilt blocks around the downtown area of Burnsville. Upon returning home to Marion, Makenna introduced the “I spy a quilt block” game to her mother. Leslie says, “We would just be in the car and she would say, ‘I spy a quilt pattern.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Then Makenna started pointing them out and I started noticing them in town. There’s a lot on Main Street in Marion.” This little game with her children inspired Leslie to call McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) to get more information about giving a block to Walt and Roseann for Christmas, knowing how much Roseann liked the quilt blocks in McDowell County.
Leslie worked with Mike and Jill Lucas to find the perfect pattern. She chose a block design and selected colors that had symbolism and meaning for the six members of the Parkins family. She went online to the McDowell Quilt Trail website where she saw pictures of and learn about the other quilt blocks in the county, and also learned that the colors can represent things pertinent to one’s interest. The secret about the Christmas gift was kept, even though Makenna became wise to it a few days before Christmas.
On Christmas morning, Roseann and Walt were instructed to sit down, after which the children gave them a paper with the following message written on it: “There is something very special on your front porch. It represents our family.” Roseann says, “Randall brought the quilt block in the house and showed it to us. I was flabbergasted.” Leslie explained the meaning of the colors that were chosen, and the about the circle that surrounds the star and the cross, and how it represents the extended Parkins family.
“There are six rings in different shades of blue surrounding a star. That is meant to represent the six members of the Parkins family. The colors of red, white, and blue in the star represent Walt’s military service in the North Carolina Army National Guard. After 39 years of service, he retired as a Master Sergeant. The cross that is obscured within the star represents God’s love for our family, who brought us together,” explained Leslie.
As Mike Lucas proceeded with the installation, with assistance from Randall, Roseann and Leslie tell about a recent windstorm that blew down the trellis that occupied space on the wall of the home where the quilt block was to be installed. They see that event as maybe a little more than a coincidence in making room for the quilt block. Leslie continued to outline other coincidences: The original quilt pattern from which this block was taken was called “The Star of the Seventies.” Randall was born in 1971, and, she says, “Today is Randall’s birthday. A good day to hang a quilt block.” Leslie and Roseann see it as a good sign that this gift was the perfect one for the Parkins home.
Roseann and Walt have lived in McDowell County all their lives, having lived in Nebo for the past 30 years. Roseann retired from Baxter Healthcare, Inc. after 23 years of employment. Now, she spends her days taking care of the grandchildren while their parents work.