Lucy Parker has a special way of showing her patriotism – through crocheting.
In the span of a year and a half, she crocheted nine afghans in the shape of the American flag – four original Betsy Ross versions, four current flags and even a Confederate flag, which Lucy explained was the hardest to create. Each star was made separately and measured perfectly for all nine flags before being starched and sewn onto both sides.
“I’m proud of them,” she said while her husband, David, unfolded samples of each of the blankets.
Lucy has been crocheting all of her life and was taught by her mother. Originally, she had planned on making only one for her grandson, who is stationed in Afghanistan. She ended up making eight more for other family members.
The challenge for Lucy wasn’t in the design of the flag – it’s her health.
Lucy has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and shuts down the motor neurons, causing paralysis, according to the ALS Association website. It affects people mostly between the ages of 40 and 70 and begins with muscle weakness, short of breath and in more advanced cases, inability to project the voice.
Doctors have told Lucy to save her muscles, which means less crocheting for Lucy. Instead, she and David will have to reminisce about their hobby of traveling.
After working in trash collection for 40 years, the Parkers retired and moved to Florida. It was there David got into real-estate, which gave him and Lucy enough money to see the world.
“When we retired, we decided to travel,” Lucy said.
Since their retirement, the Parkers have been to 72 different countries, including the first 10 countries in Europe. During those trips, Lucy has enjoyed them to extreme measures, from parasailing and propelling off mountains in Honduras to camel riding in Egypt.
“Anything anybody else doesn’t want to do, Lucy will do it,” David explained.
“I believe in trying anything,” Lucy said.
When the couple is not traveling around the world and Lucy is crocheting smaller projects, the couple lives in Troutville.
Kristina Akers, special to the Botetourt View. Photos courtesy of the Parker Family and by Cathy Benson.