Old Friends, New Tradition

I’m Betty’s oldest friend.
Not oldest in years, though I may be that too.
But oldest in how long I’ve known her.
We met in 1964, in college.
Living in the House of SAW.
One way Betty and I are alike, we hang onto people.
I still hang out with my best friend from high school: Cathy.
So does she: Pat.
We’ve known each other for fifty years.
Lost then reconnected since 1989.
She and her school teacher friends welcomed me warmly.
No rules at the Louievilla,
Our rental on the main street of Fish Creek.
Tradition helps keep us in touch,
And Betty’s our inspired manager.
Monthly girl’s night out at Mc Ginn’s.
Opening Day party,
For baseball fans and naught.
Christmas party
First timers must group-pantomime the Twelve Days.
Birthday parties, retirement parties, luncheons and garden walks.
No end to our “frivolity” (a favorite word).
New rituals transform us.
Innocent beginning.
Where are you spending Christmas?
Nowhere.
Single people with no children.
Or with grown children, scattered.
Out of the loop.
Idle banter leads to recollections of a treasured childhood meal:
Sloppy Joes,
Potato chips(the regular kind, not the newer rippled or flavored kind),
Onion dip (made from an envelope),
Orange jello with banana slices floating around,
Lemon bars for dessert.
It’s an easy jump to who brings what and a date.
Words games and a few hands of “Oh Hell.”
Caroling “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” to neighbors.
Orphan Christmas is born.

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