We went to my old friend's 80th birthday party yesterday. As we approached the farm...we saw 2 people in the driveway directing the cars to parking places. We got there on time and already the yard and barn were full of people. I would guess 100 or more people sitting on lawn chairs and some in the barn where a band was setting up. I used to live in this town, but moved about an hour away, when I married Joe. It was the friendliest town I have ever known. I knew everyone back then. I hadn't been back for quite awhile and was ready for meeting up with some of my old friends. I was a hugging machine.....everyone came up to me and we hugged and laughed and told stories about how we had come to know each other. When I moved to this town, I had a little boy who was in 3rd grade. I became friends with all these people because of him. It was easy making friends...what with PTA, room mothers, Church, garden club, Women's Club, and the neighborhood. It's been harder here in Byron, where I came to live as an older adult. I'm going to be really honest here....My friends here are few...I think that people have already made their circle of friends (at my age) and they don't bother with making new ones. It is partly my fault too. I haven't really sought out many women friends. Maybe a lunch here and there and a shopping trip, but not the real deep friendships. I remedied that by getting involved in my Church here. I have several friends there...we get together to work for the Church and go to different Church functions and maybe out to lunch or dinners with our husbands. Yesterday, I realized how much I have missed my good old friends, but after just a short time...we were talking just like the old days and I felt that our friendships hadn't skipped a beat.
There was a band called the Hometown Band playing in the barn...they played the whole time we were there. The barn was strung with tiny white Christmas lights. People were dancing...those who were able. So many of my old friends have been ill and they still made the effort to be there. One women brought her husband (in a wheelchair) and family of 25 in their own bus. The bus doors opened and all these people came tumbling out. A friend with cancer. We sat in the shade of ancient trees...everyone brought their lawn chair. The food was set up in the barn...it was fried chicken (from the Chicken Dip in town) pork sandwiches (they have raised hogs on their farm) pasta salad, coleslaw (from the Dip) fruit salad and decorated cupcakes. The Chicken Dip was the place to go, when I lived in this town. It's a drive in restaurant with the best chicken around. It sits on the corner as you enter town. Our family frequented this place about once a week. We still meet there once in a while to celebrate a birthday. It was hot yesterday and we wished for a breeze.
Our conversations didn't dwell on our health or grandkids, like so many our age do, but on things that we were doing in our retirement. New interests that we have. Some are trying to use the computer, some are still working, some are master gardeners. Things that we have accomplished or want to accomplish still. " What are you up to?" was a question that I heard from most everyone. "Are you still painting, do you have a garden club, are you happy?" I think that being interested in many things keeps us young. That's why a women of 80 could throw a party like this and walk around the crowd and ask if anyone wanted to dance. She's still active and interested in people...when you talk to her...she listens. As I said in a previous post...she was one of my fans...when I started painting. She would always ask me what I was working on. She knew all the local artisans and bought from them. There's an old saying..."Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made of by the friends we choose." I'm glad that I have this circle of friends that I can count on and go back and feel like I never left. We left the party saying that we would have to get together soon...like people often do. I feel at my age, I better keep that promise...there's not much time left. We drove out the drive and instead of turning right we turned left and drove into town and went by my old house. I don't think I should do that anymore. The family, who bought the house, are not keeping it up. The pretty yard is suffering from neglect. We were on our way to Mass. Since we were near the Church that our Priest was transferred to...we decided to go to Mass and surprise him. As he took his place at the Altar, he spotted us in the 5th row and gave us a big smile. As we left the Church we talked about his trip to Madrid and Rome this next week. He had already made plans to go with our youth group for World Youth Day in Spain and got permission from the Bishop to follow through with his plans. We wished him well and a safe trip...then I got another hug.