They began to arrive a full ten minutes before the appointed hour. ‘Fashionably late’ does not exist in their vocabulary. Their step was not as lively as it once was and their hearing not as acute. Vision has to be assisted with glasses and their mental processing, while outstanding, is not as readily apparent as in early days. This was a group, 35 in number, June and I invited to our home for an afternoon of fun and festivities. They represent the matriarchs of the town of Sewanee, Tennessee. They are the heart of the local Woman’s Club, Book Club, Garden Club and the list goes on. They come from a wide array of backgrounds and are well versed in world culture having traveled extensively. The majority are widows with an age range from 65 to 87.
Many of their husbands were professors at the University of the South. The one common denominator is their extensive volunteer work at the Hospitality House, a place designed to help others and provide services for less fortunate, high school scholarships and programs at the local medical facility.
In addition to the grandiose array of food, it was a time of Christmas remembrances and “I remember when.” Fifteen questions of Christmas Trivia were prepared in advance and made for lively conversation and laughter. The neighbors could surely hear our voices when the trivia question was asked: “What Christmas carol does the Peanuts gang sing at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas?’ It was Eleanor, our Senior member, who came forth with a strong and beautiful voice leading us with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Today our home is quiet as we await our family’s arrival for our annual celebration. I cannot help but smile as I reflect on having been apart of a joyous occasion with a group of individuals who have made this year’s celebration EXTRA SPECIAL !