After my book club met this month I wondered if I’m turning into a snarky book critic. We discussed The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a saga by Jan-Philipp Sendker that GoodReads says is “a poignant and inspirational love story.” Gag me with a spoon! I hated the book but I was the odd man out because the other eleven ladies in the club loved, LOVED, loved it. One women even said she sobbed most of the way through it “because it was such a beautiful story.” When it was my time to speak, I stated that it was a classic Romeo and Juliet plot with Burmese parables thrown in and that I hated the LONG, backstory monologues spoken by a character using an all-knowing point of view that he couldn’t possibly have been privy to. All eyes staring at me until one woman broke the silence with, “I don’t care. I loved it.” I guess I’m also too cynical to believe that teenaged love can be sustained for 50 years without any contact with one another, then they can pick up right where they left off and end up dying in each other's arms. One woman in the club gushed that our “Romeo” was such a caring man. And I retorted, “A kind man wouldn’t have left his family and friends in New York to wonder why he disappeared off the face of the earth.” (He left for work one day and never showed up at the office.) Why was I so confrontational about this book? I couldn’t seem to help myself. In my defense, it’s not like I could have kept my opinions to myself because the facilitator calls on each of us.
New topic: Monday and Tuesday I spent more time at the senior hall than I usually do because I volunteered to help with their Valentine’s Day luncheon. It’s a five-six hour commitment between the two days and this was my third time helping with one of these events. I did it because it was time to pay the piper. 1) Last fall a woman I really like asked me be the co-chair for this luncheon and I turned her down but offered, instead, to be on her crew of eight workers, and 2) the director of the place would like everyone who is able to volunteer to help with something twice a year. Yeah! Now I’ve got my 2017 commitment out of the way! The first day I got to cover the tables with red table clothes and put Valentine’s Day napkins and chocolate kisses on white placemats and the next day I was in charge of patting 117 giant strawberries dry and placing them on dessert plates with the best chocolate cheese cake I’ve ever had and to be the sour cream girl in the food line. (We assemble the plates in the kitchen and high school kids run the plates to the banquet room.) The entertainment at the luncheon would have been better suited for the Easter luncheon since a guy with a saxophone played mostly of southern gospel music. Ya, go figure that combination! But he was good and I was glad he didn’t play sappy love songs like they’ve done at other Valentine’s Day luncheons. They made me cry at least three years in a row. All and all it was a happy, two day experience.