Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Good Old Days—or were they?

Two longtime friends came for chili and conversation last night, women I’ve known since at least the seventies. All of us were once married to doctors. One, like me, is a divorcee, left by a husband who moved on to greener fields without the responsibility of kids; the other was widowed way too young by a heart attack that shouldn’t have happened. Today, we have outlived all three men—there’s a message there, though I’m not sure what it is.

But we talked about those heady days. We were young, happy, with young children—perfect families, we thought. Our husbands were newly out of residencies and in practice, and our lives were filled with camaraderie, conventions, cruises, and more money that any of us had ever known. (Those days are long gone for docs today, a fact I view with mixed emotions.) But as we talked, we recognized that those days weren’t quite as golden as we thought, that there was an undercurrent of tension, the feeling we were in a balloon that could pop at any time. It was an unreal existence, as though we were dancing too hard to keep our fears and doubts at bay. It was good to share.

I often think today’s good times are better. I never remarried because I only met one man who I thought would love my children as much as I did and who I wouldn’t have hesitated to welcome into our close family circle. (I saw too many women who concentrated on having a man in their life to the detriment of their children.) It didn’t work out for other reasons, and I have been single since the early eighties It’s been a great life, and I don’t think I’d trade. Two good careers—one at the TCU Press and one as an author, and a close family that I adore. Yes, I’ve been blessed.

The last few days I’ve been grateful for the blessings of my life, mostly because I had lots of visiting and getting out. One night dinner pal Betty and I went to her restaurant, the Star Café, and shared a tenderloin and baked potato—absolutely wonderful. Last night, my visit with the two friends, plus suddenly there were others in my cottage, carrying their wine—a woman I looked forward to meeting and hope to visit with more another night, and a woman I really like and admire but see infrequently. Today I had lunch with friend Carol, and we discovered at Lucille’s that it’s Lobsterama—a lobster roll and good conversation as I caught up with her recent trip to Australia.

There’s been a long thread on a subgroup of Sisters in Crime about whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. I think, like a lot of people, I’m a mix of the two. But I find being semi-housebound as I am and dependent on others to get out, I am tending more toward introvert. Some days it seems a big effort to gear up and get out, and those are the days I tell myself I need a social life and I need to get out and about. I need to make that effort and not spend the day at my computer in my pajamas. I’m working on not being an introvert, because that’s not how I want to live my life.

No big cocktail parties or cruise ships with six thousand people, thank you. But a quiet lunch or supper with from two to six people? Count me a happy camper. Too much solitude isn’t good for my mental health.

A big oops: I forgot to stand and face east at eleven this morning, in honor of our fallen soldiers. But a flag flew proudly at the foot of our driveway, and I hope each and every one of you remembered to say a prayer for our fallen soldiers, veterans, both those with severe problems and those who seem to have survived relatively unscathed, and those who serve today.

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