The residents of this retirement home all rolled up half an hour before the advertised time carrying plates, dishes and bottles yesterday evening to celebrate the New Year. For us seniors it has even a more serious meaning – everyone present made it through the year and is still fit enough to go partying. There no caregivers in sight and the unsteady among us managed their walkers and canes on their own.
I was a ‘wine pourer’, meaning I wandered around the lounge offering a red Merlot. It took me a while to understand why I received so many head shakes to my offer, until someone explained, “I am a diabetic and that wine is full of sugar! No thank you.” No one declined offers of the sugarless cake and other finger food – it all disappeared very quickly. The chairman of the residents committee played a selection of “oldies” music, some of the couples danced and others sat around watching, eating and drinking. And of course gossiping, a seemingly favorite occupation among the elderly.
Couples got up to dance to the music and others walked back to their seats, while a few loners cruised around between the tables looking for some ‘action’. There were a few speeches and much of the party was quiet conversation and laughter. No party games, no ‘spin the bottle’ or ‘kick the bucket’ and a good time was had by all.
Here we go into another year full of challenges and surprises. Hopefully all the surprises will be pleasant ones and hopefully we will all be at the party this time next year. It doesn’t have to be a great party; we just have to show up!