Saturday, July 11, 2009

Old times and old biddies

Alice and I threw a birthday party for Juanita this morning. I'm not saying how old she is, but she was born 76 years ago. She doesn't get out any more for physical reasons, so in this little social circle, we always get together at her house.
Alice went by our mutually favorite restaurant and picked up an omelette for Juanita. It was prepared just the way she likes it, by Amy, who calls her Grandma. Amy wrote a Happy Birthday message on the top of the styrofoam box.
Alice also brought her an assortment of greeting cards for Juanita to send out - birthday, get well, sympathy, etc. Also gave her a mildly risque birthday card which she enjoyed immensely!
I made a chocolate sheet cake from my favorite recipe, and brought her a little bag containing some stationery items from Target's office supply aisle, plus a package of balloons with a hand pump. I picked out a birthday card suitable for a child - it had punchouts of beach toys and a little bag to keep them in. 
Juanita sent me into her kitchen to make us a pot of coffee - which I had never done in her house, but I eventually found the coffee and the filters and got the job done. Then I served coffee and cake to Alice and myself - Juanita didn't want any until she finished her omelette. Then I refilled the coffee mugs and served Juanita's cake. I told them not to expect that kind of service every time.
It was interesting to see what she liked and what she didn't - Juanita's not one to hold back her opinions, which can be refreshing! She had no use for the balloons and pump, and said she wouldn't open that, so I told her to feel free to give it to her grandkids. I'm not even sure she liked the card I gave her, but my opinion is that we're never too old to have some silly fun once in a while. She said she would use the pens, and what was she supposed to do with the spiral notebook, and why in the world did she need a glue stick, and what was this white-out thing anyway? We told her it was to cover up any mistakes she made with the pens, and - deadpan - she said she never makes mistakes.
She was very happy with the omelette - it was a favorite she had not been able to enjoy for a long while - and I believe she sincerely enjoyed the cake. She liked the cards Alice had given her, but she gave them back! Apparently on a previous birthday or Christmas, one of us (possibly Alice) had given her exactly the same selection of cards, and she had not yet used them up. We told her she was supposed to send them to people - and for a few years recently, I have given her postage stamps as birthday gifts - but she said she didn't have enough occasions to send that many cards.
She said her son Bill asked what she wanted for her birthday, and she told him she wanted a tube of toothpaste! That led to an extended story about what kind, where it could be found, who shops at which stores and won't go to others, and what she had been using since she ran out of her favorite kind. Turns out she's now working on a tube that had been her husband's. He died sixteen years ago. I think Alice is going to return the cards and seek out the favored toothpaste, if Bill doesn't remember it. If she doesn't, I will!
Our conversation from there meandered around from watching the fireworks display last night - since it was rained out on the Fourth - and Juanita said something about us "old biddies" (Alice and me) going out at night in all that traffic - to memories of life on a farm and cardboard inserts in worn-out shoes.
And that was all in the space of two hours this morning. Can't wait to see what the rest of the day holds for me!

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