Saturday, August 28, 2010

From THE Sixties to OUR Sixties

I’m one of the old ladies in this photo. Not much to look at, are we?


The five of us met at the University of Oklahoma during the sixties. These women were some of my closest friends, and they were part of my wedding, forty-three long years ago. We were all considerably cuter—and thinner—then.

After college, we scattered, ending up in three different states. Although we saw each other occasionally, forty years passed before we were all together in one place again.

Two years ago we held a reunion at Margie’s beautiful Colorado mountain home. For most of four days, we talked almost nonstop, causing us to name our gathering “Gabfest 2008.” At the end of our time together, we vowed to reunite every year for as long as possible.


Gabfest 2009 was as wonderful as the original reunion had been. Last week we came together for Gabfest 2010, and once again the magic happened. Being with these ladies renews my energy and soothes my spirit. (And being in Margie’s gorgeous house is really cool, too.)

Friends from that long ago are special. They knew you when you were young, with all your na├»ve opinions and immature behavior. They know your history—your dreams, disappointments, challenges, broken relationships, and triumphs.

The five of us have a total of over three hundred years of life experience, and we’ve gained some wisdom along the way. We’ve grown in compassion, tolerance, and understanding. Our senses of humor developed over time as well. We’re more fun as old broads than we were as college girls.

From the sixties to our sixties, we’ve changed. We’re not much to look at these days, but we’re very interesting women. I like us better now.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


This week something precious showed up at our house. While moving from California to Louisville, Kentucky, my nephew Jesse stopped for an overnight visit. He delivered a piece of furniture that has belonged to our family since before my birth. Someday I’ll probably write more about Jesse, since he’s a young man destined for an interesting and meaningful life. This post, however, is about the small table that shared the front seat of his truck for a couple thousand miles.

Ten years ago, I sold a piece about this table to Mature Years magazine. If you’ve never read any of my published works, here’s your chance. “Treasure” was published in the Winter 2001-2002 issue.

If your eyes are better than mine, you might be able to read my article from the copy below. But for those of us with older/weaker vision, I’ve reproduced it in larger print below the magazine copy.


My sister and brother and I had gathered to clean out our childhood home. As we sorted through possessions collected over a period of decades, one item stood out as the treasure each of us most wanted.

While stationed in India during World War II, our father had bought a small round table, made of beautiful wood. Each of its three legs is shaped like the head of an elephant, with large ears and trunk. The table top’s inlaid ivory creates an intricate mosaic of the Taj Mahal. Though it has monetary worth, for family members, its real value is sentimental.

For each of us, the “India table” was one of our earliest and most constant memories. We’d crawled around it and explored the legs with baby hands. As older children, we showed it to our friends and wondered about the far away place where Daddy had found this wonderful, exotic piece of furniture. As teenagers, we dusted it; as young adults we protected it from our own curious offspring. Each of us loved the table with a passion. Each of us would treasure it forever.


For days, as we divided the belongings among us, we laughed and teased each other, saying, "Remember, nothing in this house is more valuable than our good relationship with each other--except, of course, the India table!"

Throughout our lives, the three of us have shared tables. Child-sized tables and dinner tables. Picnic tables and card tables. Wedding reception tables and church communion tables. Around tables we’ve shared stories, games, family celebrations, complaints about homework, and anguished conferences about Mom’s decline and need for care.

Eventually, we agreed upon a plan for sharing the India table as well. Each of us will have custody of the cherished table for five years at a time, passing it among ourselves until only one of us is left. We are reaffirming what we already knew: nothing in that house could ever be more valuable than our love for each other. Not even the India table.


Thanks, Jesse, for helping your dad and your aunts keep a promise. I hope you know that you are far more precious to us than the India table. And that’s saying a lot!