The staff at Texas Country Reporter gets story tips almost every day, but this one was special. It came from a highly trusted source, someone who knew the type of story we look for and had steered us toward fascinating Texans many times before. So when she said, “Just trust me on this. Go by and visit her,” I was naturally intrigued. “Okay, I’ll do it,” I said, “but give me a hint.”
“She’s a quilter,” my tipster said. “That’s all you’re getting.”
We had told tales about quilters before, and I always liked the folks I had met on those trips. They were usually women who told engaging stories, served delicious food, and radiated a sense of history and purpose. That’s right up our alley. But I didn’t know how distinctive this mystery quilter would be, until Diane Rose greeted us at the front door of her mobile home near Waco back in 2008.
Like other quilters we’ve met, Diane had covered most of the surfaces in her living room with patches of material in every color of the rainbow, and with plenty of thread to piece them together. All the details made sense—except one. Diane Rose was blind.
She told us the story about how she came to be that way, about how she wasn’t one of those people who could see shapes or bits of light. Everything was dark. Yet her quilts were things of beauty. Somehow, she told us, she could “feel” the right colors and shapes to put next to one another.
We spent a good part of the day with Diane, listening to her stories about living in Nashville, where she met and became friends with what seemed like every country music star to ever pick a guitar.
Before we left, she gave me a hug, so I asked, “Do you have a sense of what I look like?” She replied, “Not really, but you’re built kind of like Garth Brooks. Too much chicken and dumplins.”
Today, Diane is still quilting and is a regular attendee at the Texas Country Reporter Festival in Waxahachie every October, where people stand in line to meet her. She is a motivational speaker who travels all over the country telling her story. And, most importantly to us, she is a valued member of the TCR family.