The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Wasn’t That A Party!

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Once a year, Nat and I get all dolled up and go to a great party event. It’s actually the annual banquet for the Rangers’ Golf League that Nat belongs to. Despite the fact that it’s getting harder and harder by the year to rise up and out of our recliners and leave the TV alone for the evening, we make ourselves go and always end up having a great time. This year was particularly important as we’ve missed the last 2 or 3 banquets – our trip to Britain in 2011, me in hospital for surgery in 2009 and I can’t remember why we missed 2010, but we did. Wanting to get caught up with the “Scottish Group” (Nat’s brother-in-law, wife and other golfing friends) and being in a new venue the past couple of years we dressed up in our finest (including the new outfit I bought) and headed down the road.

This year the banquet was held at Coppola’s Restaurant in St. Catharines and once we walked into their banquet hall we were greeted by the rest of the gang at a table right beside the dance floor. I thought the seating area was perfect as I wouldn’t have to travel far in the high heels I haven’t worn for 3 years with each step feeling like that little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s heels!! I did, however, finally manage to get a hold of myself and during the evening even managed to dance once or twice in them – it doesn’t take long for that old body to get back into the swing of things, even if it is in the head!!

With dinner not being served until 7:00 pm, our group sat around the table and got caught up with everyone elses’ families, trips taken, deaths from the past year and the odd bit of gossip. John and Ann Inglis, Cathy and Jim Young, Tony and Jean Stewart and ourselves were in great form. The one missing person this year was Rita Neilson who, by chance, was in Scotland herself. The only person NOT from Glasgow, Scotland was me, but I’m getting use to that now. With their thick accents and my ears to their mouths I was (most times) able to keep up with the conversation. I always laugh as soon as I see them starting to smile, I frown and nod my head when I see their serious expressions but I always enjoy the stories told and the fun times from their vacations, especially back to Scotland. This year, Nat and I were able to tell our travel stories, too, so good times were really enjoyed by all.

The banquets Nat and I have attended in the past served food which was delicious and enjoyable. Usual banquet fare – roasted potatoes, roast beef, roast chicken, vegetables and some sort of pasta dish. We were told to expect the same from this particular facility, but as it happened we were all disappointed. Once the dishes arrived they looked good, they smelled good, but alas they weren’t good. The roast beef was overcooked and we needed steak knives, the potatoes were the same (hard to cut) the vegetables a little cold and the roast chicken also over-cooked. The penne pasta and giant meatballs, however, were delicious, as were the rolls that accompanied the same. We all remarked that if we knew what was coming after the pasta, we would have eaten more of it, as the women left most of the beef and chicken dishes uneaten on our plates. This was the first year, too, that each dish was served in separate courses. In years past the banquet facilities have left each (family-style) dish in the centre of the table and we could help ourselves as we wanted.

Once the meal was finished it was now time for the door prize (money), with the golf prizes being drawn mid-way through the dancing. As the master of ceremonies began to read the numbers (and because Nat was talking away to Jim), I glanced at our tickets as each number was mentioned – 5-2-3-3-6-__. So far he was dead on with one of Nat’s 3 tickets that sat in front of him. Then he reads the last number – 4 – and my hand goes flying up into the air. “Nat!, Nat, you won”!  I shouted. He looked a bit stunned and taken aback – “Babe, you’ve won just over $490.00 bucks.”  Still with that stunned look on his face he walked towards the stage, confirmed his ticket number, grabbed his money and returned to the table. Poor Jimmy Young. As much as he tries, he’s yet to win a prize for years. He shook his head with that curled-down lip staring at Nat as he sat back down. Nat took $20.00 from the pile and told Jim to buy a round of drinks. “I’ll take that”, I said. “Besides, you won’t be able to fit that wad of cash in your wallet” – and I stuffed the bills into that little zippered compartment in my bag. The rest of the evening would be looked at through happier eyes when the golf prizes would be given out. Nat won’t be disappointed, he at least won some money, which has never happened to him in his life. If he wants that new golf club or bag or shoes, he can buy them without having to cross his fingers and hope like hell they draw his name from the prize bowl.

With the prizes dispensed, the dancing began.This year instead of a live band, we had a DJ who spun those old and new melodies through iTunes on his Mac Laptop with large hooked-up speakers sitting on the floor. Everyone enjoyed each piece of music played – something for the younger set, something for the older set and tunes in-between. The dance floor was full (especially with the younger ones) and the older couples joined in when a song came up that made them tap their toes or sway their shoulders. There were the regulars who waltzed across the floor like professionals. Couples who obviously enjoyed dancing and have done so most of their married lives. There were also the newer set of members that did their rock ‘n roll routines while the senior members and wives sat back and enjoyed the show, with a few seniors joining in that could keep up the pace without grabbing onto their hips hoping like hell their bursitis, arthritis or knee joints wouldn’t flair up. Nat and I enjoyed a couple of slow dances, while he sings along in my ears. A little thing but he can sing in my ears anytime, as he’s a very good singer!

At every dance I’ve ever attended, there’s always one or two people that like to express their emotions, do the lip-syncing thing as they dance and kick up their heels while bopping around the dance floor. Last night that group consisted of 3 younger gals who became the centre of attention as they jumped up and down, strutted their stuff, sang along and did all kinds of little routines to each appropriate song – Dancing Queen (Abba), Rivers of Babylon (Bony M), Cecilia (Paul Simon), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), and so much more. They had the routines down pat, including the “attitude”, the finger-pointing and the dipping and tripping about. We older gals looked at each other and could tell that we were each wishing we could still do that! We enjoyed the routines, laughed at how creative these gals were and gave them all a huge round of applause afterward. It was as if we were given our own floor show.

As it was now getting close to 11:00 pm, and I was about to nod off on our table, I gave Nat a nudge and suggested we head for home. It was obviously apparent the rest of the senior members had the same idea. Suddenly there was a small stream headed for the exit doors with trophies, plagues, medals, coats and hats in hand. We’d leave the younger ones to finish off the night and close the bar. We just wanted a cup of tea and our beds.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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