It is mid-November. Another month and a half and the year is over. How fast it has gone! As cliché as that may sound, it is true. Yet if you give it some thought, you know that time always goes at the same pace. Each single minute, every single hour takes as long as it always has. Each unit of time has not been shortened or abbreviated. There isn’t an unseen hand making it all hurry away.
Why then does it seem so fast? They tell me it’s the age; my age, that is. Maybe I am listening to that little part of me that wishes time would stand still or tarry even just a bit.
I am still in Atlanta. And I am loving it here despite the cold that has suddenly swooped in from the Northeast. Many states have reported early snow.
It feels a little strange that I will still be here through November. That means I will miss my favorite chore—to roast our Thanksgiving turkey. At this time every year, I am buried in long lists of what to buy, what to cook and who is coming to dinner. And each time I think about changing the menu, I end up doing the same old thing, afraid that the children may look for what isn’t on the table.
I do look forward to a “stress-free” holiday but I will miss seeing the eager faces of my kids, grand- and great- grandchildren gathered around our massive dining room table.
I suppose I am homesick. I have been away now over two months. That’s a little long, even for me.
No reason to worry, however. Lately I do very little to bring in the season. That’s hard work. Besides, things seem to magically get done. Right now, our house is all decked out for the holidays. The tree is up and so are our old-fashioned parol stars. My singer/landlord and his twin sister took care of everything before he left for a concert in Israel.
Our turkey dinner can wait. It will be a late but festive “all holidays” celebration. Never mind the day or date. What counts is that we are together as family, and that our hearts are in tune as we remember the reason for the season and give thanks.
Here in Atlanta, my nephew will host Thanksgiving dinner. The next day we go on a road trip to Tifton for my granddaughter’s wedding. Monday before heading back, we meet for a huge Italian lunch with family from Alabang, Florida and Georgia. Then off we go on our own separate ways.
I’ll be home before Christmas.
Also missing from my year-end agenda is my annual high school class reunion. Last year we scrapped our gathering of classmates and I can’t remember why. I vaguely recall that a few of us were stressed. There had been complaints that it had become too much of a commitment. Instead of trying to fix the problem, we turned it into an obstacle too large for us to hurdle. It did not seem worth the heartache. It appeared like the only sensible thing to do. Today I must confess we made the wrong decision and I deeply regret having voted for us to quit.
We all looked forward to our “last party for the year.” Because it was always held at my home, I would start preparing months ahead, looking for little “giveaways,” nothing extravagant, just tokens of our happy time together. We always booked the same caterer. The Gourmet Palate and Bettina Legarda always went the “extra mile” for us.
What a shame. I guess no matter how determined we were at that last meeting to give it up, I was not ready to let it go. Perhaps I can still catch up. I miss it. I am sure my classmates feel the same way.
Of late there had been almost as many caregivers as there were “Class of 49ers” at our parties. It didn’t matter. They were just as happy to be there as we were. We made room for all of them. And for our wheelchairs, walkers and canes. It was always difficult to say goodbye. And so we stayed on to chat about the good old days, our teachers, the German nuns, how strict they were, what fun it was going to class under tents after the war. Stories of how it used to be and how different it was then were told and retold.
I remember once when my grandson was about eight, he saw me getting ready to go out and asked: “Lola, do you have a date with your boyfriend?” I laughed at his impertinence.
“No, it’s better than that.” I replied. “I am meeting my old girlfriends for lunch.”
“Lola, what do you talk about?”
I told him, “These ladies were my classmates. We went to school for many years and grew up together. We survived the same war. We shared our lives with one another.” He was intrigued.
And I said: “Someday, you will miss your old friends. You will get together and, like us, tell the same stories, laugh at the same old jokes, compare adventures and share memories. It may sound silly today, but you will learn that these reunions can enrich your life in amazing ways. I call them “the most nourishing time for the soul.”
Someone once said: “Memories are treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls to keep our hearts warm when we are lonely.”