Hold that full-body massage. Snuff out the aroma therapy. Keep your relaxation tapes, complete with sounds of the surf. Turn down the classical music. All I need for complete relaxation and renewal is a few hours with some old friends.
No, wait. Make that “friends of long-standing.” We avoid the “o” word. It was a two-day reunion with women I have know for 40-plus years. Not only have I known them more than half my life, but we knew each other when. We shared our “salad days” as Shakespeare so perfectly named them. We were young, tender and green when we were in college and a sorority together. It was a magical time and produced a bond that was sealed with laughter.
Laughter has sustained it and even today, laughter is its hallmark. My sides hurt. My eye makeup is running. I realized again that we became and have remained dear friends because we sense humor in the same way, in the same places. Actually, we sense humor pretty much everywhere. We snickered, teased, used old nicknames, told stories on ourselves and each other. I got as good as I gave, and we all went home smiling.
In the ancient tradition of women, we also shared wisdom. The rocky art of raising children, making a home, keeping our world on its proper course and solving those myriad problems which face every woman every day, is best learned from another woman. Preferably, it can be from one who can hand down her secrets freshly proven.
I admit this was not the Rand Corporation think tank. We talked about laundry and men in tight jeans. We talked about books and jewelry. We discussed education and supermarkets and menopause. Did I also mention that we also ate all our favorite foods until we could hardly wiggle? Every woman knows you cannot solve the world’s problems on an empty stomach, and you may need a blue Margarita, too.
Most of us are wearing a size-larger pant than we would like, are wrinkling and graying. Some are retired, some are with partners, some not. The basic workings of our lives were deftly cataloged, but were not what we dwelt on. Instead we examined our hearts with great care, each scrutinizing the others to see if all was well. If a wound was found or confessed, we talked until it was healed. If a tender spot was detected, we soothed and strengthened. If small victories were at hand, we cheered and marveled, offering that sweet praise which can be gotten nowhere else. We were purged and then filled up again. And then we laughed some more.
The hilarity was buoyed even higher by the knowledge that when we were 18, or even 25, we might well have been disdainful of this crowd of silly old women sitting there laughing until they fell over. What can you possibly have to laugh about when you are 65?
Oh, my dears. Just wait. The funniest stuff is yet to come.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer grateful for friends who love her anyway. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org