A New Life! Retirement at its Best 77

Mardi Gras or Carnaval

On March 5, we celebrated Mardi Gras at Waltonwood. There were refreshments and shiny necklaces for the taking in the Players’ Room, and people from Assisted Living came by with decorated walkers in a parade. I missed the parade, because I went downstairs for the 30 minute “Circuit” exercises. Nobody else showed up, so I had my private trainer, and she worked me hard! That exercise, plus the 30 minute chair yoga of that morning, and the 3 mile total walks with Lani, made me feel very happy that I could just change into something pretty and go for dinner to the Club!

In my mind’s eye I went back to the times of Carnaval in the Netherlands. In the southern (Catholic) part of the Netherlands they celebrated for four days before Ash Wednesday. After we had lived in the town of Son, in Brabant, for a few years, we found out that Carnaval, aside even from the giant parade and the special music, could be a lot of fun. So while the grandparents took care of our girls for four days, we dressed up and went dancing and drinking (beer) in town: leaving around 9:00 p.m. and coming back several hours after midnight. The men used to dress up simply in a blue jacket and cap with a red scarf around their neck, the women wore all kinds of costumes. Those were the days that I did a lot of sewing, so for one evening, celebrating at the nearby Air Force Base, Welschap, I dressed up as my version of Barbarella, an outer space figure in those years. I was wearing an all silver metallic mini skirt, a top with long sleeves and a tight silver helmet on my head, black knee-high boots on my feet. I wish I could see me now, but we didn’t take many pictures in those days. At the end of the night, after lots of dancing, I drank beer with one of the F16 pilots under a giant parachute, and I could drink more beer than he!  So I went to find Mike and we drove home together.

For another night, the “couples night”, I made an Indian girl outfit. Again, a mini skirt, sand color, looking like leather, with Indian style decorations, a top in the same style, with fringes on the sleeves and at the hem of the skirt. A black wig with two braids, and I forgot what I had on my feet. Probably boots again, good for dancing. That night, someone danced (and drank beer) with me all night. We had fun. And then Mike, who had had a fun evening with someone else, took me home again. We did have a car in those days, and nobody cared if or how much you drank before driving home.

The next morning, in church, the gentleman with the offering plate looked down at me and started laughing. “I think we met last night,” he said, “the little Indian girl?” And that was the beginning of our families becoming good friends and Ronny taking over from him the task of Church Treasurer – after training of course.

International Women’s Day

1975 was International Women’s Year. That year, the United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. Each year, the special Day has had a theme. The 2019 initiative is #BalanceforBetter, aimed at gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women’s achievements. 2019 is the second year that we celebrate International Women’s Day here at WaltonWood with a spectacular luncheon in the Dining Room, with flowers, music and speeches, honoring four women with an award for their achievements. This time, the four awards were given for Lifetime Achievement, Kindred Heart, Humanitarian and  Entrepreneurship. And I was honored with the Entrepreneurship Award for Waltonwood Cary, NC.

It was a total surprise at first. When I was invited to sit at the Reserved Table in front of the room, I thought, hm? Then, just before the lunch was brought in, son Dennis sat down next to me. “Dennis? How come you are here?”

“I got an invitation, and Dad did too. Where is Dad?”

“At home. We thought it was a luncheon for women only.”

Things happened fast after that. I called Mike, Dennis went to get him with the maintenance manager in the golf cart, and the three of us enjoyed a delicious lunch and watched the Awards ceremony. And then the veil was lifted: I received the Entrepreneurship Award! What an honor!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next time,




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