As a mother of three, my days are normally consumed by the three “S”’s—schlepping, schlepping, and more schlepping.
That’s why, when two members of my writing group, Rene and Maggie, invited me to lunch and to see Seminar on Broadway (a play about four novelists who take a writing seminar together) I graciously accepted.
I just had one concern. Rene and Maggie were of a certain age where . . . well, let’s just say the number was higher than I keep my thermostat in the wintertime.
I had never socialized with grandmothers, outside of my own, and that’s only if you counted staring at the TV together while it was unplugged.
What would we have in common? I wondered. My friends collected parking tickets and shot glasses. These ladies collected reading glasses and social security.
My husband fought rush hour traffic on the parkway. These ladies’ husbands fought in the Rainbow Division in WWII.
I told myself, Lisa, don’t be age-biased. Some day you’ll be old and collecting social security. Then I remembered Obama’s deficit plan and changed that to, some day you’ll be old.
On the morning of our outing to NYC I stood on the platform and waited for the train. I had asked Rene and Maggie to call me on my cell phone to let me know which train car they’d be on since their stop was two stops before mine.
“Lisa T! Lisa T! Is there a Lisa T. here?” the conductor bellowed.
“I’m Lisa T!” I answered. Why was the conductor paging me? Did he need me to schlep him somewhere?
“Come with me!” he said. I followed him up the steps and down the train corridor. “Your friends are waiting for you,” he smiled, and led me straight to Rene and Maggie. They sat primly on the bench, wearing colorful scarves and playful grins.
“Who needs cell phones?” Maggie said. “We’ve been working the system long before wireless communication.”
After an animated conversation about vacation destinations, movies, and the Anderson Cooper show, we arrived at Penn Station. “Should we take a cab or walk to the restaurant?” I asked.
“Walk,” they answered without pause.
It was 20 blocks from Penn station to The Kellari Tavern. We had to stop a few times to rest so I could catch my breath.
At one point we got lost. I said, “Don’t worry, I have a GPS on my phone!” But by the time I dug my phone out of my pocketbook they’d already asked a passerby “Which way?” and gotten us back on track.
At Kellari, Rene instantly made friends with the restaurant staff. “You look like an actress, “ she told our waitress. “Honey, your bra strap is showing,” she whispered to the hostess.
Before the hors d’oeuvers had arrived, Rene’s charms had already earned us a free round of champagne. “Ladies, it’s on the house,” said the manager as he served us three glasses of bubbly.
Over an Old Fashioned, Maggie told fascinating stories about her adventures raising nine children, including one about her daughter working as a personal chef to Ethel Kennedy. She talked about family hardships and explained her family motto, “We stick together no matter what.”
I shared my family motto: “We stick it to each other no matter what.”
It was the best meal and conversation I’d had in a long time. Unfortunately, the same didn’t go for the play.
Our reactions: “I couldn’t understand a damn thing he said!” “If I wanted to watch someone eat ice cream from the container I could have stayed home,” “I’m not sure her exposed nipples really added to the plot.”
We found Seminar boring and consensually disapproved of the gratuitous profanity and nudity. And given our span in years, age had nothing to do with it.
Thankfully, though the play was a bust, our day together wasn’t. Maggie and Rene shared events I’d only ever read about in history books. These ladies were sharp and worldly, and didn’t brag about doing tequila shots (though thanks to Maggie I’ve added Old Fashioned to my list of cocktail favorites).
The way they interacted with the world around them was eye opening. They were friendly and engaging, and went out of their way to talk to strangers. They relied on personality, not Wifi to make things happen.
I discovered an important lesson in humanity that day: that friendship transcends age. I learned it from the Seminar—the one led by my new old friends.
Speaking of friends . . . I’d like to thank my classy and clever friend Morristownmemos for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger Award, and the utterly effervescent Good Humored for honoring me with the 7 X 7 Link Award. You can count on them for some good humor and for some good blog recommendations (that’s how I discovered The Mainland).
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