I joined the Coral Club today, not to be confused with a choral club. Ten of us came down to lunch in our cafe` and seven of us were wearing coral colored shirts. What are the odds of that happening? I suppose pretty high considering it was a new color offered in the fashion industry this past spring---or was it in 2021? Either way, we had lots of silly ass fun over our little club as we ate our pizzas and hamburgers. Well, most of us were eating. Two or three were there for the conversation and to learn the latest gossip about who went off in an ambulance, who tested positive for Covid and which foolish old man drove himself to the hospital when he thought he was having a heart attack. Because of the hipaa privacy law about revealing health issues the management isn’t allowed to tell us anything, but we did get an email telling the 35 of us who were at our monthly dialogue meeting that we need to get tested for Covid on Monday. Oh happy days. I don’t want to see the return of masks but it’s probably coming to a place near all of us by fall.
Remember all the bellyaching I’ve done about the fashion standards here and how my wardrobe is hopeless out of sync with everyone else’s? It’s still a thorn in my side that I often feel like Cinderella with wicked stepsisters who look like fashion plates for Mature Living Magazine. My fault, not theirs and I try to remember that. (My shopping gene is broken.) When in the fine dining room, the bling will blind a person and you can tell how who had unlimited resources in their clothes and jewelry piggy banks. The only jewelry I wear is my $35 watch, a medical bracelet, stud earrings to match my tops---or not if I'm too lazy to swap them out---and a sterling silver ring made in Siam before that 800 year old country was renamed ‘Thailand’ in 1939. I bought the ring in an antique store in the mid 1950s when I was crushing on bald-headed Yul Brynner back when he was in The King and I. It was ignored for decades but I found when I was downsizing last year and haven’t taken if off since. Its got two fish on the front which, of course, I researched because that’s what I do for fun and I found out the fish symbolizes wealth, prosperity, strength and bravery.
I’ve never worn my wedding rings on a daily basis, even when Don as still alive. I didn’t want to get the diamonds all cruded up with soap, pizza sauce or caregiver fluids. Here, I’ve worn them twice---Christmas and Easter. But, here every night when we eat in the fine dining restaurant the room is filled with more chunky gold pieces than most jewelry stores have on display. I’d rather have a bunch of flea market finds lined up on my windowsills in an effort to flaunt my passions in life. Different stroke for different folks, as they say. The most valuable thing I have in the way of jewelry is a sweet memory of my husband after his stroke when he was trying to get me to understand that he wanted me to wear my wedding rings to a party we were going to. We made some great memories after my husband could no longer walk or talk. It wasn’t all dome and gloom; there was plenty of laughter and sweet-as-pie or silly moments even if there were a few times when I felt more like a mom than a wife.
You’re not going to believe what I did after lunch today with the Coral Club. I decided not to hide my writing under a bushel anymore---at least in one genre of the craft. I’ve been working on a set of poems about this place with the intend to do some illustrations to go with them and to publish them in a booklet. Doing the small batch, self-publishing thing is nothing new. I’ve done nine books so far from 300 pages to 20. But up until today no one here has ever read a word I’ve written except for two ‘test women' who I showed a poem to recently. It was well received so when I finished a poem about a contentious meeting we had with the CEO and people from a new food service taking over our meals I triple-dog dared myself to post the poem on the bulletin board in the mail room. To be clear about why I jumped into the fire, the new food service people didn’t get why all of us are up in arms about their doing away with our cafe` community table and making us all sit in stuffy groups of two and four. They were talking restaurant management and we were talking in Klingon or so it seemed to them. They just didn’t get it, that their change took away our sense of community and fun.
My poem is sarcastic and funny and to the point and when I got back from posting it I got a call from someone on the food committee who wants a copy to take to their next meeting with these same people. She praised my ‘talent’ and said she and her husband (who are both in my book club) admire me for having the guts to post that poem. She said they both stood there laughing for longest time. Then I got an email from a guy high up on the social chain here---we call him the Mayor---who praised my poem and said he went down to the office and told the CEO and others to go read it. Over the next day I was getting hailed all over the place for representing our grievance in a funny way. By the second morning it was gone off the board, taken down when no one was looking. Please think of me in my version of The Hunger Wars and help me hope “the odds are in my favor” that my little poem won't cause me to get banned from making future reservations to eat on campus. But if you see me panhandling on the corner for food, you'll know why.... ©