Saturday, April 28, 2007

Catching up

Just back from my brief sleepover sojourn with longtime girlfriends, celebrating our years together since high school graduation in 1959. This is the first year I've been able to attend since I moved north; the chosen weekend inevitably collided with my weekend on Vashon. This year it was earlier.

There were nine of us there, stuffing ourselves, tipping a few, catching up on the gossip from our old home town and sharing our lives. There are always worries to share about old friends, the latest about the former boyfriends and husbands, news about children and grandchildren, observations about who was a jerk, who has shaped up, who continues to be jerkish, etc.

I used to feel kind of outsiderish, but that has changed over the years. This was a wonderful experience of feeling like I belong to this group, no longer the brainiac preacher's kid who just watched while others had fun. That's because of changes in me, I think, and a degree of relaxation into a new way of being.

Most of us are on the same "social concerns" wavelength, but occasionally one woman lets fly a truly awful statement or opinion, racist or homophobic, and it's interesting to see how this is received and dealt with. She has learned to temper her remarks, I think, because she nearly always gets jumped on--gently, for the most part--by one or another person.

We all remember her truly difficult growing up years and hope that someday her bitterness subsides, that she will find more peace of mind and won't have to take out her anger on innocent people. In the meantime, we continue to love her for her wonderful qualities and try to train her out of her not-so-wonderful ones.

On the way home, I stopped by in Seattle for a celebration gathering of the RCE board and staff. It was a nice meal and I had a chance to renew acquaintance with a fellow I had dated very briefly in 1965. His wife is an RCE staffer and had asked me once if I remembered dating him long ago.

I honestly didn't remember anything but a few smooches on an early morning walk in a mountain meadow on the last day of a backpack trip with a cadre of pre-delinquent kids, sponsored by a church group. He and I were counselors for the group and on that final morning, we were so happy to be going home! It had not been an easy experience. The smooches were fueled by that elation, not any particular chemistry. He seems to remember that we actually dated later; I really don't.

It felt kind of fun, however, at my advanced stage of life, to be remembered as a fun date, as a smoochable person. Would that I might experience such a moment again before I die!

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