We had a new member at our Nomination Whist group this afternoon. She has been waiting well over a year for a vacancy to come up so, when I phoned her to ask her if she still wanted to join, she told me I had "made her
day". Which, in turn, made my day.
Sadly the vacancy has come about because our oldest member, 94 year old May, is now in a nursing home, approaching the end of her long life with inspiring pragmatism, laced
with humour. We all miss her at the card table so very much. No longer will we hear her pronounce: "I hate No Trumps!" No longer will she regale us with tales of her youthful forays onto the amateur stage. No longer will she sit in her car outside our house
carefully applying her lipstick before setting off along our garden path to ring on our door bell. Dear May, how we miss you!
We all signed a card for her this afternoon which I must remember to put in the
post tomorrow. A Get Well card would not have been appropriate but I found a card with a heart on the front, blank inside for our own messages. "May will like that," was Pat's verdict, "It's really quite tasteful." She sounded a trifle surprised.
The card we bought Jim for his birthday could not be described as tasteful but it was certainly appropriate for its recipient. On the front was depicted a glass of water. "Would you say this glass was half-full or half-empty?"
the wording on the front read. When you pulled open the card from the top, the glass filled up with beer. "Or would you rather tip the water away and pour yourself a beer?" I was chuffed when Delia told me this afternoon that Jim, phoning his daughter for
a birthday chat, had chosen our card as one of two he read out to her over the phone. Like beer, we obviously hit the spot.
I spend a lot of time in card shops, endeavouring to find the perfect greeting
for whoever is next on my Card List. Mr B can't understand how I can waste so much of my life choosing between sentimental, or amusing, or meaningful or just plain dotty. "I need to buy some cards," I will tell him, as we set off along the road to the bus-stop.
This is called "preparing the way." Mr B is not fooled for a minute: "How many?" he demands. "Well, sort of four," I dither, "or maybe five...."
Since I entered all the birthdays and anniversaries into the
diary on the UsPad, I receive a reminder a week before each appointed date, with a follow-up two days beforehand. There really is absolutely no excuse these days for forgetting a friend or family member's Red Letter Day. In fact the problem is buying the card
too early and then forgetting all about it. Many's the card which has suddenly surfaced from beneath the pile consisting of last year's diary, this year's diary, two days' worth of newspapers and a collection of assorted, yellowing papers pegged together with
a hopeful "To Do" note. And always a week late.
Here's the other thing: when you buy a card, do you choose something that appeals to you personally - or do you look for a card which its recipient will love,
even if it goes against the grain to buy it? It's something I struggle with on a regular basis. Mr B has no such doubts where certain Birthday People are concerned. "He'll love this!" he will chortle, choosing a more than a little bit risqué card from
the "Humour" section. There have been times when I have had to add a personal note rebutting any suggestion that I might have been party to the choice of greeting.
Up in our loft, tucked away behind the Christmas
decorations and boxes of assorted "stuff" which we thought we couldn't give away but which hasn't been given a second thought since it was consigned to the Upper Regions twenty odd years ago, is a carton of Precious Memories. Every so often we bring it down
and look through the contents, misty-eyed. Among the contents, the card we gave the Eldest of the Darling Daughters on her very first birthday.
Why on earth did we buy this particular card? I ask myself.
On the front is a picture of a teddy bear, which sounds fine and dandy, I know - but, honestly, it's not exactly a memorable picture, nor a card of notable loveliness. Presumably - because I know I would never have bought just any old card on such a special
birthday - it must have had some special significance, even though the meaning now escapes me. I wish, oh how I wish, I could remember...
Everyone at Nomination Whist signs the card for May. Tomorrow I must
remember to post it on the way to the Bowls Club Coffee Morning. Our new member wins the first game on our table, with a creditable 132 points. Has she really never played this game before? Beginner's luck, she says, modestly. Personally, I think she may be
A Force To Be Reckoned With.
It's definitely on the cards...