They came from up and down the east coast — Pennsylvania, Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan and Maine. Summoned by their Magnanimous Hostess to celebrate, belatedly, her summer birthday, 60 slightly-senior citizens tapped the Waze and Maps icons on their iPhones to locate Foxfield Farm, a 200-acre spread in West Marlboro, Vermont for five days of golf, gabbing, gourmet meals and, oh yes, a little guzzling.
These warriors normally gather during the deep winter months at a gated community in south Florida. There they play golf, tennis, bridge and mahjong when not birding, boating, jogging, chorale-ing, bocce-ing, kayaking or fishing. This group is not creeping quietly into their dotage. After greeting with hugs and “How was your summer?”, festivities began.
Within the first three hours, four people had lost their iPhones. Over the four-day weekend, room keys got misplaced …someone’s car battery went kaput … numerous diverticula became inflamed… two people suffered migraines …. artificial hips, knees and shoulders got tested to the limit on hilly slopes and a barn dance floor … 54 holes of golf were played … Fitbits positively pulsed. Nothing rained on this parade, not even a big black bear that ransacked the Magnanimous Hostess’ bird feeder one morning.
The only glitch might have been when the dinner bell rang. Because the group was housed in several inns and houses located several miles from Foxfield Farm, getting to each evening banquet required utter faith in one’s GPS. Sometimes iPhones had “no service” because we were off the grid bouncing along deserted gravel roads through the thick forests of the Green Mountain State.
One particular quintet, which shall remain nameless, piled into a Honda van for the 10 minute drive to that evening’s dinner. Half an hour later they were just about to cross New Hampshire state lines when someone in the back seat wondered where in hell we were going and did anyone remember the name of the inn. Five people with a combined IQ approaching 1000 couldn’t figure out where they were and had no clue as to where they were going.
Which brings to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wonderful words: “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
The other blessings are the spontaneous laughter, infectious enthusiasm, heartfelt concern and deep affection “old” friends have for each other. While our hostess enjoyed birthday wishes, her lucky guests basked in 24/7 camaraderie and companionship. Differing political opinions were muted. The aches and pains from six and seven decades of active living were muffled.
The only audible was a contented purr.