Friday, January 29, 2010

Chapter 10; Part 6 - Evenings Out

If they are not doing activities at the clubhouse, Mom, Dad, and their friends sometimes invite each other over to the other’s condo for their evening activity. They always offer coffee and cake for refreshments (as if they haven’t had enough to eat at dinner earlier in the evening). Then they either play dominoes or sit around and talk. Actually, even if they are playing dominoes, which requires no thinking, they are still mainly just sitting around and talking. The conversations are usually similar to the ones that take place around the pool during the day. Except at the pool, residents have to wait until the others have left before they can begin talking about them. In the privacy of their condos, they can talk about the others all evening long.

Chapter 10; Part 5 - Evenings Out

On nights when there are no live shows or special dances, Mom and Dad sometimes go to the movies. Of course, not movies in first-run theatres that would cost at least eight dollars a head – that’s much too expensive for the Florida pocketbook. Instead, they go to see one-dollar movies offered in one of the larger rooms in the clubhouse. Most of the films are pretty current, as they have just recently left the movie theatres. And even if it is something Mom and Dad wouldn’t normally go to see in the theatre, they take a chance on it at the clubhouse. As Dad says, “For a buck, you can’t beat it for an evening out.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chapter 10; Part 4 - Evenings Out

Another popular, although less common, option for the evening activity is a dance offered by one of the Harbor View clubs. Usually around the holidays, such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, many of the clubs will sponsor an evening of dinner and dancing in the ballroom of the clubhouse. Mom and Dad enjoy these dances not only because they get to socialize with their friends, but also because it gives them an opportunity to dress up – something they don’t get a chance to do often in casual Florida.

From what Mom tells me about these dances, though, it sounds as if the residents attending them haven’t matured much since junior high school. Not that the men stand on one side of the room and the women on the other; rather, the juvenile mentality has to do with saving seats. Mom says that in the first few years after the ‘Young in Spirit’ club was formed, everyone would save seats for their friends at the dining tables. As new people joined, however, many of them complained that there were too many cliques in the club. This led to a new ‘no saving seats’ club rule. The leaders said it would encourage people to get to know the new members.

One of the incidents that may have led to this new rule was at the Valentine’s Day dance one season. Mom and Dad were sitting with Flo, Irv, Susan, and Stan. Susan was saving the remaining two seats at their table for Hymie and Minnie. Apparently another couple came over and sat down in the vacant seats, and Susan asked them to move. Susan tried to get her way as she does returning food at restaurants, but the man wouldn’t budge. He said he wanted to sit at this particular table, and she wasn’t going to stop him. They got into a yelling match, which ended with the man mouthing off a few obscenities.

At that point, Mom said she herself wanted to move, not desiring to sit with a man with a ‘filthy mouth’ as she put it. But by then the man’s wife was already chatting with the others at the table, and Susan just gave in and told them to stay there if they wanted. By the end of the evening, the man apologized to Susan for his language and even asked her for a dance. Mom couldn’t believe that Susan actually danced with him after the way they were arguing. But Mom said that’s the way it is with the old people in Florida. She said they behave like children sometimes – fighting with each other one minute and acting like best friends the next. In spite of this junior high mentality, Mom says the dances are usually a pleasant way to spend a holiday evening.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chapter 10; Part 3 - Evenings Out

Once a year toward the end of the winter season, the clubhouse offers a live show put on by the residents of Harbor View. It is a talent show, and any resident who is brave enough is allowed to perform in it. Mom and Dad never used to sign up to attend the year-end talent show, but they have heard that it is actually pretty good, so this past year, they decided to check it out. Mom said it really was very good.

“You won’t believe how talented some of these people are,” Mom said to me on the phone the day after the talent show.

“Really, what did they do?” I asked.

“Well, a few of the women sang and danced like chorus girls in a Broadway show. Sure, their kicks weren’t high like the Rockettes, but I give them credit. Their hair is gray, the skin on their arms is dangling, and most of them aren’t exactly slender, but they had a lot of energy and belted out show tunes like it was opening night on Broadway. I don’t know if I would even be able to remember the words to all of those songs they sang.”

“What else did people do?”

“One woman twirled the baton. She actually wore a glittering costume with knee-high boots. She wasn’t bad. She missed a few times, but, overall, it was remarkable for a woman who looked to be in her early eighties.”

“Wow, I’m impressed,” I said.

“One man did magic tricks. His reflexes weren’t so good, so you could sometimes see what he was doing. But the people in the audience were good sports. All of the performers got a standing ovation.”

“Did Dad like it?”

“Actually, he did. He said he’s thinking of participating next year.”

“Dad? What can he do?” I asked.

“He’s thinking of doing a comedy routine with Herb. They are planning on imitating the folks in Harbor View. You know, things like, ‘Did you hear that ambulance go by? There’s another condo available in Building 41.’”

“That sounds funny. But I hope no one is insulted. They may throw tomatoes at them,” I said.

“Nah, they’re a good-natured crowd when it comes to the talent show. Besides, if they threw anything, it would probably be matzo balls.”