The last time I had attended a pajama party, Johnny Mathis was probably crooning on the radio and I had skinny thighs beneath my oh-so-cute baby-doll pajamas. Johnny still survives, but the baby-dolls are long gone…and those skinny thighs? (sigh) Don’t even ask.
Three years ago my e-mail group and I decided to meet in person. We had formed this unlikely laptop alliance over time when the only one who knew the other three sent occasional inclusive e-mails and we’d responded without paying attention to who else might be on the address line. We still hit Reply to All without reading who “ALL” might be and besieged husbands or people we don’t know eventually reply, begging to be excluded. The four of us, however, had become bonded by keyboard and were curious to see how we’d get along if we actually met.
The second year we met in Alabama where we re-learned canasta and tried our hand at knitting, laughed and talked until after midnight, then e-mailed each other from our rooms early the next morning to see who was awake so that we start it all again.
What we packed for this Pajama Party Redux was a revelation. When sixty-ish women go on an outing together, we don’t simply toss in a toothbrush and a change of underwear. One in the group goes nowhere without her egg crate mattress topper, another had what looked to be a 30-lb. bag of health and skincare products, and I came returning the 16 Elizabeth Peters mysteries I never read. Laptops, knitting projects, coolers, binoculars, cameras, and games nestled amid calcium tablets, fiber pills, Fossamax, or whatever the prescription of the week might be.
This year Rummikub turned out to be our game of choice–nothing that required concentration because talking was what we did best. We sat on the porch drinking wine, Diet Coke, or beer and sent raccous peals of laughter into the quiet Georgia night.
Perhaps the P in AARP stands for Peculiar, because we are indeed set in our ways, even in our choice of breakfast drinks. We each brought along our own preferences: Diet Coke for one, tea for another, while the third drinks some Starbuckish concoction for which she brings her own equipment and soy milk. I drink coffee…not normal, brewed coffee, but those little Maxwell House or Folger’s tea bag-looking things that I can dunk in boiling water to scald my gullet and steam away the morning fuzzies in my brain.
Our knitting projects were only slightly more advanced than our birdwatching. We like doing it; we just aren’t particularly good at it. Although we continuously swear off knitting blogs with their parade of actual finished projects far beyond our skill levels, we still cruised them at the breakfast table, forwarding pictures and patterns to each other.
Our areas of expertise lie in other areas: ice cream, for instance, handmixed and brought by cooler from the mountains. We each had our own pint: chocolate with crushed brownie and almond, raspberry with peppermint, peach with crushed almonds, and chocolate with peppermint. We ate it right from the cartons, trying to stretch it to last. (Whoever said that red wine and ice cream don’t go together?!)
On departure day, there were packages of Mary Janes for me, which the other two travelers had stopped and bought because they remembered I like them, Peeps for another who actually eats those squishy things, and bouquets of orange flowers in pretty green lidded vases which Beanie had placed in each of our rooms.
Hugs, directions for getting out of town, and as usual, a final directive: E-mail when you get home.