Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wine and Dine...

Husband Bill and Annette - Great Couple!

Jeanne, Annette, Betsy, Carol, Me, Peg and Karen

I'm already thinking this is too long of a story to tell, but will attempt to shorten things.
High School and forever friend Annette invited us all to dinner at her house. I had driven halfway and called to ask when Happy Hour started and she told me "wrong weekend!"

The next weekend I drove up, I stopped at the same place and bought some eye makeup at a department store...only to discover after returning from the weekend that I left my Master Card with the clerk...a mere 8 hrs. roundtrip...They insisted I had to show up in person to pick it up....took me forever to convince them to mail it back to me!

Anyway, back to the story....Arrived for the first time in Annette's town on that second (correct) weekend. Had forgotten her directions, other than she said she lived at the end of a street, but had a map from Mapquest. I went to the house that was so bright with lights and a man answered saying, "We gave at the office." --- "I'm looking for Annette and Bill?" I said. I had seen Bill only in photos, so I thought the guy at the door might be Bill joking with me. "And their last name would be?" he said. -- "I don't know" I replied, feeling like a total loser. The man's wife came to the door and upon hearing the names walked to the sidewalk with me and pointed a block away to Annette and Bill's house. I asked if they wanted to come over for Happy Hour, but they said they were expecting company for dinner...the reason their house was so lit up.

Annette and another girlfriend Carol, who had traveled from Minnesota to be with us, were there putting on music and drinking wine. I entered through the side door to a totally bright red kitchen with a great counter and tons of carved birds and other interesting things to look at.

Annette's dog was named Betty, after her mother who died sadly at the early age of 45 due to cancer when we were growing up. So, hearing her call out her own mother's name to the dog seemed strange but fun.

Roaming through the house there were eclectic mixes of furniture, scattered rugs and family photos everywhere. In the dining room the table was set with a quilt, pumpkin/gourds and candles, gold chargers and plates, glass goblets. Above the table was a magnificent chandelier Annette had found locally with wine colored small lampshades and gorgeous glass teardrops. A sideboard buffet was set. We had a mixed salad with poppyseed dressing, baked chicken with asparagus. For dessert, good strong coffee with Hot Gingerbread coated with hot butter cream sauce and whipped cream. A wonderful blend of food and companionship. We said a prayer for Julie, whom we lost to cancer a few years back and for those who could not be with us for dinner...

I had brought bottles of wine with funky names. We drank Royal Bitch and Big Ass...decided both were as good as the labels! I drank before and during dinner but stopped to be sober for the drive to my sister's afterward.

Talk was nonstop from the beginning of the night to the end. The only time we were serious was when talking about politics and then it was funny how we all reacted...some in silence, some asking questions or making accusations of politicians. I don't think any of us would truly be angry over the other's views anymore as we value the time together so much more.

Others with us that night were Jeanne who is heading out to Arizona and then to a new condo with her retired auctioneer hubby. Peg is a surgery nurse in the hometown and married to a science teacher. Betsy works in the offices of a local food chain and is married to her high school sweetheart. Karen is not married, is a working artist and cleans homes, when not reading or just enjoying life in the hometown.

I can't wait for the next time. We were plotting out our 50th high school reunion...9 yrs. from now...Gets harder to get people to come so we figure we'd better put some thought into how to attract those not attending to come again. They always liked the old Country Club due to it's history in our lives. Carol said recreate the Note, a favorite old dance hangout. Will take some time to figure out what motivates people to return. Maybe in the meantime our small hometown will build a motel to house the out of towners. Should give Comfort Inn or Marriott a call.

It's great getting together with people who knew you growing up...a common thread in life.

Knowing them when young and seeing the basic personality shining through the years is like a chance to see life full circle. I will always want to stay connected to these women. They have truly not just gotten older, but better through the years. As Peg said, "It's nice to be this age and be able to get rid of the hangups and just LIVE."

Thank you Annette (and Bill who tried to be invisible) for a wonderful time with you!


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