The yearly Balmain Christmas party has been. It was a good party. Probably one of the best ever. The party has been a tradition for well over two decades. Always in the same house and with the invitations sent to the same people who have known each other for many years. We all know each other’s triumphs as well as tribulations.
As the years go by, less men than women turn up. Men have either died or somehow got lost along the way in marital upheavals. You know how it is. Men get older but not wiser. They are capable of imaginings that drive them to other pastures. Their flagging nether passions nagging them relentlessly till well into their eighties. It is so in vain, isn’t it? Women, on the other hand, might not get any younger either, but when difficult husbands have either died or gone somewhere else, many get a second life and thrive to even greater heights. It has always astonished me how quickly some women overcome the passing of their husbands, either through a heart attack or another woman, (even another man in rare cases). It must be of a great consolation that they outlive erring or difficult husbands, even the good ones! I am happy to be one of those still hanging around.
As the glass or two of fine wine established itself, and, within our intimate albeit a somewhat grey-haired group, worked its way, the excitement of seeing each other again became audible if not visible as well. Heads nodded in benevolent agreement. The Christmas cheer was on its way. For some years now, no wild music is put on anymore. Many of us wear hearing aids and complicated dentistry equipment. No loud music and soft foods only. Heavy metal and chewy bones, pork crackling are out. The age of Aquarius has gone now. We are still going. Aging gently softly, but not as yet totally gummy or brick deaf. It might well come to that but meantime we whoop it up.
All too soon it came to an end. Some of us gave some presents. Someone remarked we seemed to be leaving earlier and questioned if getting older had something to do with it. Perhaps? The wine had started to wear off and some of us have afternoon rests. You know how it is. In any case, it is remarkable that we still have a party. I just read that 100 years ago, the average age of an adult was just 47. Look at us now.!
I counted 14 females and 4 males. One of the males looked a bit peeved. He told me (quietly) he had taken his top ‘partials’ out. ‘I was eating the lovely trifle and took them out and now I don’t know were I put them’, he said. I comforted him. I offered that he might find them on the plate holding the rest of the trifle. ‘Have a look I said, ‘before someone might take and eat more trifle and find them’.
They are just the sort of things that happen when you get older. I have as yet to experience losing my partials in trifle. Life can be unpredictable. It is what makes it worthwhile.
‘There might not be as many as there were a while ago’ but enough to keep on coming each year.