Sunday, May 3, 2015

Parties by Choice

May 3, 2015

Dear Friends,

First, the farm report. New plants are doing well; evidence of vigorous growth in each. No losses so far. 

New hybrid salvia is sporting a small bloom—dangerous, inappropriate effort at this stage. Plant needs to be growing roots, foolish young thing. However, I let the bloom open far enough that I could see the color before I snipped it. It is beautiful. 

The new patented coneflower (Secret Passion—absurd name) has arrived—the most elaborate packaging I’ve ever seen. It is presently showing off two new leaves in the kitchen window. Will heel it in Monday, weather permitting, and plant Wednesday. 

Weeds are flourishing, but their lease on life is limited. Tuesday I will have help, and they are the first item on the day’s agenda.

It was my pleasure to meet with a group of young women this last week to think together about aging and the choices that we have. One young woman told a wonderful story of an adventure she recently shared with a group of women all of whom were in their late seventies or early eighties. 

The adventure began when one of the women (eighty plus) called my young friend and asked if she would drive her and her friends to a party. Despite feeling a bit cautious at the prospect, my friend agreed. 

The story of the trip and the party was delightful. You can sense something of the emotional climate of the affair by my friend’s account of the insistence of the hostess that before they left home my friend load a large cooler of drinks into the vehicle so that the party could begin on the road!! I am still smiling. 

But at the end of her story my young friend said thoughtfully, “I learned something. Somehow walkers and canes and glasses and hearing aids didn’t seem to make much difference—those people had a blast, and laughed until they were totally worn out. As I consider my own aging, I am reminding myself that you can always have a party if you want to.”

This week I have imagined the party preparation list of that eighty-plus hostess.

  • ·       Invite friends.

  • ·       Make reservations.

  • ·       Secure car and driver—check space for walkers and cooler

  • ·       Plan drinks and appetizers for trip—get Sue to help

  • ·       Take silly hats to wear in car

  • ·       Take a long nap the afternoon before the party.

I doubt very much if the hostess reminded herself of her inability to drive, or her limited energy or her loss of vision—or her diminished mobility, or that of her friend. She just planned the space needed for the her friend's walker, and for her own, and anticipated the trip and the fun.

Diminishment does not have the power to produce a poverty of parties. Only our failure to value play does that.

See you next week.


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