Card Club

Old friends never fade away. Nor should they.

Eons ago, after graduating from high school, my girlfriends and I would get together. Once a month we met at each other’s homes. Actually our parents’ homes, until we acquired our own places, mostly rented apartments followed by first-home purchases. Card Club we called our group even though we never played cards. Not once. Or any other games for that matter. With our numbers fluctuating between eight and fourteen, there were too many important things to talk about—boyfriends, college, engagements, weddings, husbands, pregnancies, children, and divorces. Every so often we’d go all out with a shindig that included our mates, a major social event elevated from the usual snacks to more substantial food and drink. Oh yeah, those events I still recall fondly, especially the yummy grasshoppers and pink squirrels. We partied well into the night yet managed to remain friends the next day.

After ten years of get-togethers the demands of family life and re-entry into the work force started interfering with Card Club and eventually it fell by the wayside. By that time, some of the girlfriends (as I still think of them) had moved away. On the plus side, when they returned for a visit, we would seize the opportunity to play catch-up. Such was the case a few weeks ago when one girlfriend traveled from Maine to reconnect with family and friends in the Midwest.

Over the course of a single week and a fluctuating number totally ten, we met on three separate occasions, including a local eatery that once was a popular Italian-American restaurant where locals went to see and be seen. The new restaurant owners are Bosnian; their theme, Mediterranean-American. They graciously (and wisely) isolated our group in an out-of-the-way area known as The Porch.

Ever heard a bunch of hens all clucking at the same time? To the uninformed outsiders, that would’ve described our gathering; but what did a bunch of strangers know. We still consider ourselves to be the same chicks we were in high school. At least from my perspective, that’s what I saw that day. And I see everything with my newly restored 20/20 vision, thanks to the amazing ophthalmologist who not only removed my nasty cataracts but eliminated any need for contacts or glasses.

As in the past, girl talk was the only game we played on The Porch. Me with one ear tuned into my immediate tablemates; the other ear trying to keep up with two other simultaneous conversations. Talk about a pleasant fugue, this non-stop chatter laced with belly laughs capable of raining tears! At some point my mind drifted into a reminiscence of Card Club’s passages through time. Two dear friends have passed away; others are dealing with health issues, and more than a few are widowed. We’ve all endured the inevitable loss of parents and some of us, the devastating loss of children.

The cacophony of multiple topics finally settled into a mutual discussion centered on change. Some friends are downsizing, not by choice; others are working toward that direction.

Downsizing! Yikes, just thinking about downsizing, making such a drastic change in lifestyle hurts my head. All those decisions—what to take with, what to sell or give away or push onto adult children who don’t want what they’d perceive as junk. Even though it would be their mom’s junk.

Thanks but no thanks. For now I’ll stick with the lifestyle I still enjoy. But it does make me think about decluttering my life. Now that I could live with.

Yes, maybe I could. Or should. As soon as I finish my current work-in-progress …. Sigh.

About Loretta Giacoletto

Loretta Giacoletto is an American writer of family sagas, mysteries, and contemporary fiction, all of which contain elements of crime. She divides her time between the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks where she writes fiction, essays, and her bi-monthly blog, Loretta on Life, while her husband Dominic cruises the waters for bass and crappie. Their five children have left the once chaotic nest but occasionally return for her to-die-for ravioli and roasted peppers topped with garlic-laden bagna càuda. An avid traveler, she has visited numerous countries in Europe and Asia but Italy remains her favorite, especially the area from where her family originates: the Piedmont region near the Italian Alps. - See more at:
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