Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Spring Hat Party

The Slut

The invitation came handwritten on a tiny card via US Mail, as God and Benjamin Franklin intended. It was from my neighbor Gayle: bane of the medical establishment, terror of the customer service department ("I'm retired, honey. I can stay on this phone all damn day"), official neighborhood hoot, pushing seventy--behind her. She throws parties at random times of the year and invites all her girlfriends. There's always a Slut, and always a theme, and the subtext is always I'll be damned, I'm still alive. The theme this time was Wear A Spring Hat.

That was easy. I already have a Spring Hat left over from when my friends the Ms (Margaret, Margaret, Mary Ann, and Me) showed up for Margaret's wedding in pink thrift store dresses and flowered hats.  The marriage foundered, but I still have my hat. Usually if I plan to dress up for anything, the wardrobe falls apart in one way or another. I didn't get the segment of my X-chromosome devoted to shoes, so even if I have a skirt and matching blouse, I won't have proper footwear. Or if I go with long pants that will obscure my shoe choices, I don't have a coat that works. None of it matters at Gayle's parties. If you make an effort with the hat, you're golden.

Everyone looked terrific. Edith couldn't take her hat off because she was incubating robin eggs on the top of it, and Gladys couldn't get hers to stay on because her head didn't clear the back of the sofa and the petunias kept pushing against the upholstery. The Slut looked particularly fine, undressed to the nines as always.

This isn't a group of kids with cell phones and excuses. I was two minutes late and everyone was already there, on time. "I don't know how to kill him," Gloria was saying as I walked in. "I'm in a ranch house."

I can get up to speed in no time. Gloria was referring to Gayle's famous dictum: never live with a man in a house with no stairs. "Gravity is your friend," she always says. "If you're going to have an argument, make sure you have it at the top of the stairs." Gayle has handily outlived two husbands, so far.

Gloria went on. "So I don't have any stairs, and we only have the one car, and he's always driving it. If I drive, he's in it."

Allene piped up. "You can always ask him to check the headlights," she pointed out. Heads nodded. "People's feet slip on the pedals all the time." There was more general discussion. The consensus was you could expect to run through a number of men before you find one you didn't want to kill, or became too tired to care. Allene herself had racked up 42 years with just the one, and things are going pretty smoothly now. It's all a matter of adjustment. She'd had to make one not that long ago, when her husband finally got hearing aids. "Now I have to be careful what I say," she said. "I need another outlet."

It's great to catch up with people you only see a couple times a year. There's the grandchildren and son-in-law roster and the associated meth report. Bernie listened for a while and became exasperated. "Why do they have to do all that meth stuff? When there's perfectly good alcohol." Allene began to rhapsodize about lemon-drop martinis, her eyes rolling back in a parody of ecstasy, I hope. Over half the women at the party are diabetic, and some could keel over at any time if fed the wrong ingredient. It's part of the party atmosphere. Edith is lactose-intolerant but assured us all that she doesn't have a seizure or anything, she only gets diarrhea. We were cool with that.

Bernie, Gladys, and Edith
But it did serve to change the subject. I mentioned the trouble I have peeing in the woods because when I try to pull up my pants fast enough to catch the last drip, I keep getting my binoculars stuck in my underpants. None of the other women could manage to pee in the woods at all. "I have to have a seat, a seat with a hole in it," Allene said firmly. "And it has to be in my house," she added. Allene will drive  home in the middle of a shopping expedition if she has to. We briefly discussed the possibility of wearing our spring hats and marching across the alley to my house, knocking on the door, and filing in to use the bathroom, but I was a little nervous for Dave.

Gayle's son Ken made a brief appearance on his way to his quarters in the basement. Ken has always been a polite and deferential lad. These are the women he grew up with, and he's not stupid.

Allene had to go home early.

50 comments:

  1. Thanks Murr you are widening so much my horizon... from sewer to spring hat… never a dull moment :)

    By the way, would you have the number of the slut? I just hope my wife doesn’t see this comment… we have stairs!

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  2. Laughed so hard I peed in my pants.

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  3. I never used to have any problem peeing in the woods, but now it takes me awhile to get back up from a squatting position. Knees are old, ya know. Love the hats and the Slut. :-)

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    1. My main problem, before I started wearing binoculars, is misjudging the terrain and having one foot downslope.

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  4. Wonderful group of women!
    I just bought a felted hat----maybe I could sneak in...

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  5. Speaking of peeing in the woods, 35 years ago, Aunt Esther, who is in a wheelchair, and a group of other Aunts and assorted family members drove up to a cabin in Eastern Oregon. Esther mentioned, as we drove through Granite, that she needed to stop to use the toilet, but as we only had to go a few more miles to the cabin, she said she could hold it for a bit.

    Imagine our surprise upon reaching the cabin and discovering the the key had been left at home! Aunt Esther can't squat, BUT there was a toilet seat lying in the front "yard" . No toilet, just the seat. I can still picture three Aunts holding the toilet seat while Esther sat on it to pee. Everyone was laughing so hard, it is amazing that they were able to function at all. This story was told again a few years ago at Esther's 80th birthday.

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    1. That vision will join Webbed Feet and Stars And Stripes Forever as my guaranteed antidepressants.

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    2. I have a little box in my brain where I put the all-time best visuals. This one is going in there.

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  6. I'm still laughing over "binoculars stuck in my underpants"!

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  7. So what's wrong with your foot gear? It looks stunningly appropriate to the rest of your fine self, imho. And the Aunt Esther story takes the prize, really. It's hard for anyone to steal Murr's thunder, but I think this one time....

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  8. Whaddya mean, "no proper footwear"? Nothing wrong with those footwears!

    The gal in the first photo obviously needs more vitamins. So pale.

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  9. Folks don't wear Easter bonnets anymore because you can't tweet a sonnet.

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    1. Oh god, are we stuck with big green hats and limericks?

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    2. Thanks for bringing up fascinators. Don't you just love the whole idea?

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  10. When I was in college, we had a Slut that lived in the dorm room down the hall. Her name was Susie Snatch, and she attended a lot of parties--some all dolled up like your Slut, and some au naturel--and always made a big impression. Eventually, though, someone dressed her up in a very scary costume and put in her the closet that the janitorial staff used to store their mops and buckets, after which she was confiscated by the authorities. What a gal.

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    1. I don't make these things up, Murr. I just report 'em.

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  11. Groups of womenfolk have the most amazing conversations! My group calls itself the Wild Wimmin, and we've been friends for something like twenty years. We have a real Slut though, and mostly it's me, though once in a while someone else takes a turn. I bet if I was a lady and wore a spring hat it would DEFINITELY be someone else's turn. I'm going to have to experiement ...

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    1. Actually, I think you can get away with a lot more with the right spring hat.

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  12. The slut would have had furrry legs when she arose from a chair in our house. Black furry legs.
    Love this group. And hope that lemon-drop martinis were waiting for Allene at home.
    Piddling in the woods? Not a happening thing since the time I squatted on a thistle in the dark.

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    1. Around here we have to mind we don't get in a patch of Devil's Club, but you learn that one in a hurry.

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  13. Love that slut model.I need one, so people can think she's the resident housekeeper.
    And, for inadvertant binnoular trapment...this might help http://www.go-girl.com/

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    1. I not only know that, I used to have one. A prototype anyway--it was available way back in the seventies. I never really got the hang of it. And I have good quadriceps. Sometimes if I've hiked uphill fourteen miles they want to give out, but by then it's too late.

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  14. You made me laugh, fart, and startle my husband. You really, really need to come to the second Saturday get-togethers. Hardly anyone knits now, and with the Keurig, even * I * can make decent coffee. Now what are you going to use as an excuse? Next one is May 10.

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    1. One excuse is "I'm not sure I've ever been actually invited!" Get back to me. I'll be away for a bit in the beginning of May and will need a reminder. And don't tell me to put it on the calendar, because I need a reminder to look at that.

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  15. Last time I peed outside was in the jungle in Peru during a trip down the Amazon. The guide had set up a bucket with a seat on it behind some bushes and I was the first to use it. I had just returned to the group when YIKES! Severe pains in the nether-regions. Dancing around in agony, I asked everyone to turn around while I yanked my pants off and my husband helped me remove a bunch of fire ants.

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  16. You have trouble peeing in the woods because when you try to pull up your pants fast enough to catch that last drip your binoculars get caught in your underpants.
    Here's my question: why do you want to catch that last drip?
    As for the binoculars, swing them around to hang down your back or shorten the strap. I can pee anywhere although I do prefer a seat with a hole in it.

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    1. Oh there's always a last drip. It's a matter of getting it in your underwear instead of somewhere else. And I wear a binocular bra, so it doesn't hang from my neck and I can't just swing it around the back and...oh this is getting complicated!

      Doesn't everybody's seat have a hole in it?

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  17. Forgot to say what a great idea a Spring Hat Party is.

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  18. Now don't go calling yourself a slut. If you just bring your legs together and wear some knickers you would look more like a lady! And those leis,...toss them out! And remove the sunglasses as they make you look shady!

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    1. Okay I won't call myself a slut if you won't.

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  19. Awesome socks Murr! As a guy I have to worry more about wind direction when I pee in the woods. The last drop is a universal issue.

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  20. This is a party I belonged at, if for no other reason than I have questionable taste in hats AND shoes. A couple of weeks ago I was out birding/sea glass hunting and needed to pee. It was about 30 degrees out with a 15 mph northeasterly wind. I found a great place out of public view hunkered down between some huge boulders but that wind was too much for my bare lady bits. Who knew that if you freeze them long enough, bladder control isn't an issue?

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    1. See, I didn't know that. I do know that old ladies take longer to drain than they used to. I mean, what's that about? You just sit there, and you're all done, and then--why, no you aren't. Shouldn't gravity be the judge of that?

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  21. Murr, you have absolutely made my day. "Old ladies take longer to drain..." I though it was just me! And I often realize I have a problem when I discover that I've zipped my binoculars inside my jeans...though outside my underpants. Love this post from beginning to end. AND the comments!

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    1. You know the worst part about getting old is when no one notices you've zipped your binoculars inside your jeans although outside your underpants--because nobody even looks down there anymore.

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  22. So....not genuine bird-watching binoculars then?

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    1. Oh, totally. The bra is to keep the binos from bouncing against yourself, because there's too much bouncing already.

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