I was invited as a special guest to the Havana Garden Club’s 40th year anniversary party, and what a party it was!
As Nurse Judy and I were about to enter the door of the Havana Country Club, we saw an ordinary shovel, rake and hand tool tied up with ribbon and covered exquisitely with flowers. It delighted me, but it puzzled Nurse Judy, my pretentious alter ego.
“I’ve been to hundreds of country club galas,” she said, “but I never saw tools used as decorations before.”
First of all, you cannot take what Nurse Judy says as fact. I don’t want to call her a liar since there is always a tiny bit of fact in whatever wild pronouncement she makes.
Still, most of the parties she attended at the Havana Country Club were Christmas parties for graduates of Leon High School and we were guests of my former secretary. I decide to let her fibbing slide and merely explain the beautiful decorative objects beside the door.
“Those are these women’s tools of the trade,” I say. “Those are what they’ve used to make our town beautiful.”
“Oh,” she says, her interest quickly waning.
Once inside, her disinterest vanished as she took on two new emotions: anger and envy. I have to admit these ladies were a sight to behold decked out in bright spring colors and sporting the most spectacular hats I’ve ever seen.
Even my jaw dropped a little. I could understand the envy. I felt a twinge or two myself, but why the anger? It didn’t take long for her to let me know.
“See that?” she said, pointing to the president of the group, Edna Hall-Whitehead. I saw. Edna was wearing a white dress with a form-fitting bodice and a skirt that flared out covered with spring flowers.
She could have graced any red carpet.
“She looks lovely,” I say.
No hiding the anger now.
“And just look at what you have me wearing,” she hisses. “I’m in these navy pants and navy jacket. This isn’t a funeral. It’s a garden party.”
“I let you wear a turquoise lace blouse and turquoise shoes,” I say defensively. “You picked out the hat.”
“The jacket covers the blouse and the pant legs cover the shoes. You’ve turned me into a frump just like you. I thought the hat would be worn with a gorgeous gown.”
She really is miffed. I decide I must be frank.
“Nurse Judy,” I say. “We haven’t seen your waistline in 50 years. There’s no way you could wear a dress like Edna’s.”
I know she knows this, but she storms around and pouts until I finally sit her on a chair to think about her behavior. In the meantime I enjoy a great luncheon with an outstanding carrot soufflé, chicken salad, rolls and all manner of desserts.
I am happy. One time Nurse Judy dressed me in a gown with a fringed stole for a buffet, and as I went down the line, I was chatting with everyone.
When I reached the end of the line, there were all manner of condiments dripping from my fringe. Since then I have been careful how I let Nurse Judy dress me, and I hadn’t disgraced myself today.
Yes, I am happy. The program begins, and past presidents list many of the wonderful things they have done for Havana – trees, benches, fountain, clock, flowers, urns and more.
Two ladies, Barbara Spooner and Margaret Staron, are given lifetime memberships for their many contributions. I am given a rose nosegay as a special guest.
This brings Nurse Judy out of her doldrums. She grabs the nosegay and flaunts herself around.
She feels important. I let her go. I am happy, and if she is happy, too, life is so much easier.
Yes, it was a wonderful party. It has left me wondering if it’s possible to find waistlines for Nurse Judy and me again, but since I’m having another birthday this month, there probably isn’t enough time to complete the search.