Today was my first condo event. It was the ladies luncheon, which happens once a month and which I’d completely forgotten about until someone at the Y asked me if I was going.
I canceled all thoughts of an afternoon of painting away the giant and ubiquitous flowers in the downstairs bathroom. Food or painting? Easy decision.
I knew only one or two people there, but I was on familiar ground after all those years of belonging to other ladies’ groups. Name tags were handed out, printed slips about the next card gathering circulated, and someone else sent round an announcement for an event with a ladies club in the next town.
I was seated near a woman who used to live a few streets over from our house. Her husband had been in the military and she reminded me of other army wives I’ve known – self-possessed, straightforward, and if you needed someone to organize a luncheon for 250, you knew she could put it together in an afternoon.
Next to me was a tiny older lady no bigger than a minute. When they delivered her shrimp scampi in its fashionably giant bowl, her chin just barely came up to the edge of it. I spent much of my time smiling and nodding at her whispery conversation since I only caught about every seventh word. During a discussion of the storm in Florida, she revealed that she owned several condos down there, one of which was in the process of being sold, and she hoped the new buyers weren’t going to back out. Not a person you would have taken as a real estate mogul.
Across from me was someone who’d moved to the complex a year ago. I enjoyed her story (told behind her hand because “T” two seats over is a member of the association board) of sneaking an entire sitting area in back of her unit. She’d been told that the condo land managers couldn’t clear out the scruffy area in the woods in back. So she hired a landscaper to go about ten feet into the woods and saw down the scrub trees. The next spring, she cleared away the weeds and shrubbery that had hidden the work, and whataya know, there was a cleared area just right for her lawn furniture!
The median age of the group was probably 78, but the rebels are alive and well.