There weren’t as many as there were a while ago.

Friends and family of some years ago

Friends and family of some years ago

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.

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21 Responses to “There weren’t as many as there were a while ago.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    I very much enjoyed reading all this, Gerard, especially the story about the partials and the trifle! LOL – 🙂
    I wonder whether that guy ever found his partials again?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    I hope he did find them. He was very upset and was too embarrassed to talk and open his mouth. We will keep you informed Uta. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Patti Kuche Says:

    So lovely to read the latest in the continuing tales of the Balmain circle. One of the nicest things about old friends is not having to fill in the back story, they know it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    It’s amazing how embarrassed we can get if we misplace our teeth. After all,, babies have none, and we think they are adorable. Several years ago when the local dentist renovated my entire mouth, I was without teeth on the day of a party. There has never been a party I would willingly miss, so I trudged off to join the group at the restaurant. When the waiter came, I ordered ice cream only. It gave everyone a laugh including the waiter, Think of teeth as an accessory—you can take them or leave them.

    I’m glad your party was a success. Old friends are the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I lost one of my hearing aids while working under our ride-on lawn mower. It was on the farm. I told Helvi of my plight. Amazingly, she walked with me to the approximate area where I had been working, tightening the belts and checking the blades of the lawnmower.
      She bent down and plucked my lost hearing aid from between the grass. This was really amazing.
      Fortunately, I never take off any dentures no matter how excited I might get doing the cooking, dancing, or feeding the worms.
      My teeth are either ‘in situ’ or in a glass of Steradent.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. berlioz1935 Says:

    Losings ones partials in a trifle is not a trifle and you described it for us so we smile. Not because we are schadenfroh, but because we understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The partials of our friend were found in a glass of red wine. He must have lost them there when eating the trifle. Perhaps the trifle was so smooth that it acted as a lubricant for the partial teeth to escape into the wine. Who would know?
      We have reached the age of partials, Berlioz.
      What next?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Lovely account, hope they last for years and years. I shall remember the partials in the trifle for many a day. Averages are, of course, individually misleading. My father, pacing himself so as to keep company with my mother, outlived her by 25 years, my father-in-law outlived my mother-in-law by eight years, my uncle (by marriage), who has died at 102, lived 26 years longer than his younger wife… You’ll see them all out, Gerard!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My mum outlived dad by 18 years. Yet, she had many operations and hospital stays. When dad died we all were giving KLM flights from Australia to Amsterdam next day, at special low prices on compassionate grounds.
      When the call came through we were camping on the coast at Bendalong. The funeral was delayed till we had all arrived.
      Mum was worried that her husband’s wedding ring somehow got stolen and wondered why, at his wake, his hands were kept beneath the coffin’s sheet.
      A somewhat macabre reflection, but mum was always a bit suspicious. Perhaps she was right. The wedding ring never turned up.
      My mum on her husband’s funeral had shrivelled the size of a skinny sparrow. She leaned on my arm as we entered the church. I thought she would die of grief within a few weeks.
      Yet, she lived for 18 years, took up swimming and rode her bicycle.

      There is hope for all of us.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    I can just imagine how embarrassed he was to have lost his teeth. great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. snowsomewhere Says:

    I really enjoy your style of writing 🙂 Looking forward to reading more!


  9. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    I love it that you all still make the effort 👍🏻🎉 hoping you have many more get togethers ☺️


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Charlotte, I love to hear your voice.

      Our get-together has become almost an institution, whereby for so many years now, we all celebrate our friendship. The Christmas is used more as an excuse. We all love it.


  10. Dave Says:

    You have an interesting voice and style, Gerard. I’m already looking forward to working with you on that edit when you are ready. 🙂


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