In Which We Get a Hippopotamus for Christmas!
It was the 7th, and finally time for a lunch date with some dear, old friends. We'd agreed to meet at The Field at Toftrees, and each bring along some cookies to exchange and a photo from childhood. If you have been following The Tale of the Hippopotami, you also know that my friend (and former boss) Judy has been gifting me her hippo collection, one hippo at a time. I had another one coming, possibly the last one.
Judy told me that the (possibly) final hippo was in hiding, and that she was chasing it around the house. She had to lie to it and tell it that she was taking it to the zoo to meet other hippos, when in fact, the hippo was coming to live with T. Tiger and me!
So when I arrived at The Field, there was the hippo waiting at my spot. And T. Tiger and I (with his little Christmas tree we got him last week at that ultra-fun new Ocean State Job Lot place on Benner Pike) instantly began having adventures with the new hippo.
You may see the hippo to the left in this photo. It is actually a wooden trinket box made by Deborah Bump, and the hippo was bought at the State College Arts Fest 30 or 40 years ago. It has a secret tray in its mouth that opens up so you can store your goodies inside. NEAT!!!
We had a chance to sit and talk about our lives and about what's new and what's old. In fact, speaking of which, I'd have to say that getting older presents its challenges, as it involves not just learning new things and having neat new experiences and accumulating wisdom and grace, but also learning to live with devastating losses, ones that will jar us to our very bones. Sometimes things that hurt, hurt more at Christmas time. As some guy once said, All you need is love. Go easy at Christmas. Show MORE love.
I looked down at my burger at one point - it has The Field stamped on top of it - but I suddenly looked at it and thought that it read What The Hell? Which was my actual reaction to some of what we talked about. I don't know why the world is the way it is. I don't know why we must suffer great losses. But I can tell you this one thing for sure: It's all better, with friends.
And so we had our meal (a big burger for me, one of the very best in town, a salad for one other, and soup for two others), and then we passed out our cookies and Judy even bought us hot cocoa bombs, a thing that I've never even heard of and that I can't wait to try. And I gave out my snickerdoodles, and we laughed some as we looked at the photos of our Younger Selves.
There was a lovely young family sitting at the table next to us - a mom and dad and two kids - and our crew was admiring the hair of the little boy closest, as it stood straight up, soft and fuzzy! I could see the women in my group aching to give that hair a touch. But we also admired how well behaved the two boys were.
Then suddenly, I heard a THUNK! and the closest child's sippy cup was on the floor, with something sticky coming out of it, right by my foot. But lucky for me, I'd put my bags and things up on a little shelf by the fireplace. And my camera was hanging from the left arm of my chair. Yay, me, nothing got sticky or ruined! I tossed my napkin onto the ground to sop it up. No biggie.
A few minutes later, a second THUNK! and the sippy cup was on the floor again, on the other side of the table. Another stranger tossed a napkin on top of the mess. And believe you me, we all walked out on a sticky sticky floor.
But when we left, we all said our good-byes to the people at the next table, and told them how lovely their boys were, and how well behaved (the double sippy cup toss aside). For it felt like we'd been through a lot together! But mostly, it was fun.
And in fact, that could sum up things with my friends and myself. It sometimes feels like we've been through a lot together. And we have. But mostly, it's been fun. And yes, life is DEFINITELY better, with friends. <3
My friend Cindy is a big Beatles fan, one of the biggest Beatles fans there ever was, and I'm picking this song for her, and for Gina and Judy and me, and for all of us, at Christmas. Oh, and let me just say this: Faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these . . . is love. My soundtrack song is the Beatles, with All You Need Is Love. Be ye kind. That is all.
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