Saturday I went to a Christmas gift show with three of my friends from the Gathering Girls. It was held at the gardens and sculpture park and I’ve been hearing about this show for years. It was huge and hiking in from where I had to park put over 2,000 steps on my Fitbit! It was shoulder-to-shoulder women inside and as I tried to keep track of my companions, I felt my mother-hen persona come out and my baby chicks were getting away. We’d already established at our designated meeting place that none of us had programmed each other’s contact information into our phones and I was mildly panicking that we’d get separated and never see each other again. What? It could happen! Someone with a fetish for mayhem and murder on his mind could have snatched one of us. Our nightly news has been filled with details of a trial going on of a guy who had done just that to a couple of women in town. He’s waiting sentencing now so we were probably safe at the Christmas gift show. That and the fact that none of us are young and cute anymore. Well, a couple of the Gathering Girls are cute but kidnappers usually don’t do ‘old.’ There are very few perks that come with having lots of birthdays, so we need to identify and celebrate them all. But I digress.
Alas, no one got lost although at one point I was seriously worried about one of the ladies. After lunch she and I went to the restroom but she didn’t come back for the longest time. She says she gets lost while driving and she would have gotten lost walking to the restroom if I had not been with her. I kicked myself for leaving her after my business was done. I did tell her I was going back to the restaurant, but what good would that have done if she had gotten lost in the 158 acres of the gardens and sculpture park? Guilt! Thou are my inner voice, my voice of shame. I beat myself up one side and down the other until she rejoined our table.
Why when I’m hanging around with my posse of Gathering Girls do I feel an overwhelming urge to be the mother hen? They are all fully formed human adults not children or my post-stroke husband who needed my momma-hen persona to survive. I need to kill that ‘hen’ before I turn into a control freak! Why did I have to volunteer, for example, to stand in the long, snaking line to pay for purchases at the show as the others shopped the last few vendors? Was it kindness or was it a passive aggressive way of saying I was ready to leave? I asked that question of my inner voice but I received silence for an answer. Maybe Guilt developed laryngitis? Next stop on the Control Freak Train: Why did I have to volunteer to get our coats out of the coat room downstairs when the others took my place in that pay line? (I didn’t buy anything and I didn’t need to be there.) Was that kindness or controlling or was I being the mother hen again organizing her chicks? Please tell me it’s possible to be all three---a kindly old mother hen looking out for her flock. Doesn’t every group need one?
We had a good time but most of us agreed we’ll never go to a show that large and busy again. We expected more upscale, artsy-fartsy gifts and there were some but also plenty of plants, toys and specialty foods. We sampled chocolate covered everything but ants, drank tiny cups of coffee and I got a kick out of being tagged with a bright green bracelet proclaiming me to be “OVER 21” so I could sample the wines. When I got home I didn’t want to take that bracelet off. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere where the management couldn’t look at me and take a chance that, yes, she’s old enough to drink. That’s my spin but rules are rules and gray hair and wrinkles don’t count when free alcohol is involved. But seriously, do they really think someone would put on an old people mask and wig just to chug down a few ounces of wine?
We had lunch in the park’s main building and it was spiced with our classic brand of easy and free conversation. We had planned to stop someplace else on the way back to our end of town and I jumped at seconding the suggestion that we stay there instead. I knew the walk back to the car would do me in. On future outings our newest member wants us to go to a few traffic congested places I avoid like walking barefoot on hot coals. If we do, she’d better take on the role of mother hen so I can be the chick who follows her out of my comfort zone…or into a tragic traffic accident resulting in several of us getting our driver’s licenses taken away. Oh, dear! There’s a law being introduced in our state congress that will require a driving test and a health review of any senior citizen involved in a fender bender. Double oh, dear if it passes! ©
Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Answer: I don’t know, let the chicken mind its own business.