10 October 2008
I guess if my overnights with Peach, Kathy and my mother are "Cousins Days," then the overnights with Jeri D., Char, Pat, and Audrey, my friends from our college days' "Pinata group," should be "Pinata Days," now that it seems we are settling into our own rhythm and will be having them more or less quarterly. (Audrey missed this time around because she and her husband are on a cruise.)
We can't have them monthly, like Cousins Day, because Jeri spends a good deal of her time in Arizona, driving her RV from here to and and back again on a revolving schedule. But she's in town periodically. Her next time here will be December, so we should plan a Pinata Day in December and then I think she said not again until April.
Pinata Day is assuming its own tone, just like Cousins Day has. In some ways similar, in some ways not.
Char and Pat took charge of bringing the most important elements of the overnight.
Jeri had an appointment in the afternoon, so we all arrived early, had lunch and settled ourselves in to chat while Jeri was gone for an hour or so. When she cam back, the game of 65 started.
Char had recently tried playing with her (adult) children, who were convinced she was cheating and making up rules as they went along, so she wanted to be sure to refresh her memory of how the game was played.
The last time we played, I won all the games. Truly, this is not a game of skill. It's much more a game of chance, the luck of the draw, as it were, and if history were going to prove correct, then this was the time when I would do terribly. In fact, my cards started out to prove that axiom, but as it turned out, we played two games and I won both of them.
The sting of the loss was softened somewhat for everyone else when Char broke out the Melange Reserve from the Vincent Arroyo winery. We had all visited that winery and chatted with Vince, and his wine was very smooth. Even I, who don't usually drink wine, had seconds.
Then after I trounced them in the first game, I set out the appetizers I had brought, pretty much the same stuff I made for the Neighborhood open house. Pat made something that was called either an Earthquake or a Mudslide. I don't remember. But it was like a chocolate hazelnut milkshake with a kick and went down entirely too easly.
I trounced them the second game too and by then people were out of small change, so we called a halt to the card playing (that would never happen on Cousins Day!) and Char served her pesto pasta dinner, accompanied by Jeri's salad.
Then we retired to the living room to watch Saturday Night Live's Thursday edition. During the news, I had the feeling that "something" was off on the show, but I didn't say anything.
We went back to the table for an apple crisp dessert Pat had made and then just sat around chatting until midnight. As with Cousins day, the talk was trivial, profound, funny, sad, and we ran the gamut of emotions. Some had more of Vincent Arroyo's wine, but I didn't.
It was about midnight when we all headed off to sleep, and in the morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, cooked by Jeri, we played another game of 65. This time I was almost relieved when Pat won, not only almost every hand, but the game itself.
We started reminiscing about games we had played when we were all younger and our kids were small. I mentioned Keith Olberman's mention of the game of Risk and how you always set out to conquer the world from Madagascar (which was always a joke among our group and so funny to hear Olberman say that too). Jeri managed to unearth her old Risk set and opened it up and when I looked at the map on the board, I realized that I had been right about Saturday Night Live. I told the others what I had noticed. Nobody else had noticed it. Do you...?
I probably wouldn't have thought anything about it if I'm not acutely aware, these days, about where Australia is. On this map, Australia is right next to Spain. The others didn't see it at first, but then it all popped into focus for them. It also appears that the U.S. is on the map twice.
After that I felt better...my eyes hadn't been playing tricks on me at all...the Saturday Night Live people had been.
Our time was growing short and it was time to leave, so we packed up all our leftovers and loaded up Char's car and then all hugged Jeri goodbye and we backed out of the driveway, with "Shirley" (Char's GPS system) giving us erroneous directions to get us back to the freeway.
I find the older I get the more I really seem to need these gatherings that we've started to have. I have loved these women for the better part of 50 years and I'm so glad that we have followed the "cousins day" model and are beginning to realize how special we all are to each other and how important these get togethers are. I think the death of Michele, right before we got together for the first time, helped us realize that we never know how much longer we will have to enjoy these get togethers, and we need to savor them while we still can.
MILES TO NOWHERE: 77 miles