A True Good Lifer

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One of our new year resolutions * was to join the garden club.  More broadly, to get out and enjoy our community, but specifically, to join the garden club.
Tonight was the first regular meeting of the year, and we duly togged up and set off out to the village hall.

Our village hall. No really. I know.

The village hall holds very mixed emotions for me ** but mainly this evening I was feeling a little apprehensive. Although we've judged at the last two annual shows, I wasn't quite sure what to expect of a meeting - howbeit one featuring a talk by a popular local speaker on a non gardening topic.
When we arrived well in advance of the 7.30 kick off, Jill was with the speaker,  by the door trying to operate a key safe. She'd forgotten the key - dozens of people have keys to that hall! - and was trying to liberate the 'spare' from the most complicated key safe I have ever met.
"It's always been Tony's waist measurement plus 5 and 6" she said, bemusedly outing her husband as a 38" round the middle and heaven knows where the 5 and 6 come from. "But I expect one of the committee has changed it and not told me."
Eric, the chairman was due to arrive around about when he felt like it and might or might not have a key or Tony's alternative waist measurement with him, but we volunteered to go back to Jills house in the next village along, ringing the unfortuantely unwaisted Tony (A) enroute - he being home with a chest infection - and asking hm to liberate from the bowl the village hall key.
As expected, when we got back, Eric had arrived, the door had been opened, and everyone was inside.
It was a strange thing, being newcomers and yet not. Neil in fact was a founder member 16 years ago. We were the newcomers with people who by and large we'd known for close on two decades. Seeing in the parish newsletter that the garden club was 16 years old was one of the things that prompted us to rejoin.
I was discussing this with Eric while we waited to pay our dues (£5 each for the year. Find me better value)
"And most of us are still here" he beamed "Well except poor old Tony L who died a few years back now"
"True " I replied "But his polytunnel is still going strong - in our garden! His widow sought us out and gave us that and his wine making kit!"
"Ah yes," Eric mused "Tony L was a true Good Lifer. Really self sufficient."

The talk was excellent - about the Outer Hebrides since you ask and very informative too - and it was good to be out. We had a long chat with John Parsons, a beloved shepherd of an older vintage, who also produces exquisite primitive tapestries of local scenes.

We came home to a glass of wine by the fire and it struck me, that Tony L's epitaph, courtesy of Eric would do for me:

A True Good Lifer.

Not too much carving, eh?

* I will say, those of you who know me know I don't usually make new years resolutions in January, but after Easter brings Resurrection and a new beginning. This year, however, it felt right to do so.

** I spent ten years opening and running first a  Brownie Unit, then a Guide one, and sometimes both in that hall. The jumped up little madam I was foolish enough to put forward for District Commisioner, pushed me out as fast as she could, as if I were 85 and over the hill. I was ill for two years over it. Sisterhood? Yeh, right.


mel said...

i'm not ashamed to admit that i'm DEAD JELLY over, both the village hall, and the garden club. and the camraderie (sp?) over growing things and being self-sufficient.


i picked up the leaflet for the nearby WI while i was at the library the other day. that was as far as i got. i'm neither a mixer nor a joiner by nature...and yet.....something keeps tugging at me. Community, yes...of course, but a lifetime of being the odd sock makes one a bit gun-shy....

a true good lifer. sounds a noble epitaph indeed. xo

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