Friday, January 8, 2016

True Confessions Amidst A Fiesta of Friends

                                                True Confessions Amidst A Fiesta of Friends
            When I was eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen I wanted to join a cloistered order of nuns. It was either a good thing or too bad that any order where I could have boarded for school and preparation was out of reach. By fifteen, latent puberty had taken over my mind and emotions. I was rather backward. In those days it meant something special if I said, “He looked at me.”

            In a modified way I got my wish when I moved to Mexico. I live in a small casita by myself. In the months when the snowbirds from the States have flown back home I go days without speaking a word of English. Or at least any word that is understood. My solitude is good. I enjoy my time of quiet, of reflection and introspection.

            Even though this is tourist time in Mazatlan and my snowbird friends are all perched in nearby nests, I still live in comparative solitude.

            Then all of a sudden Santa came early with a full bag of gifts. The first package I unwrapped included a week in a mountain village in Jalisco with my cousin and friends.

            When I got off the bus back in Mazatlan, Carolina stood on my doorstep. We had several days of visiting when . . .


            Kathy, Carolina’s sister and my long-time friend who first introduced me to Mexico, flew in for a visit. I quickly re-packed my bag and trundled off to the El Moro to have a two week holiday in the resort, six blocks down the street on the beach.

            Next week Lani and Ariel are in Mazatlan with a full schedule of social activities.

            All this company, unplanned, quickly planned or as a surprise to me. I like surprises. I pride myself on my flexibility. I love being with my friends.

            But, I must confess to a momentary twinge, just a smidge, mind you, of dismay that I would lose my quiet time. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, with a difference. Beneath the tree were stacked gifts beyond belief and value: more than the book by Louisa Alcott I hankered after, more than the pink angora sweater set and the flannel bathrobe my Grandma made for me. It’s as if there were also piles of Gold and Silver and Frankincense and Myrrh. Know what I mean? I loved the book and the sweaters and the robe. But what do I do with the rest? It’s too much.

            That little twinge lasted as long as a pinprick. I quickly pulled myself together and said to myself, Hot dog! I’m gifted with Christmas, New Years and the 4th of July complete with bells and whistles. Woo-hoo! Let’s go!

            Being older has benefits—if we discount the other stuff. What people might think loses importance. Just the other afternoon I was sitting with a group of friends and started laughing. “Look,” I said. “My blouse is wrong side out.” I wore an African print, equally bright on either side, but really, the seams are frayed. I shrugged and never bothered to change.

            I admit I am not cruise material. Never one for fancy dress or bling. When other girls perfected make-up, I wanted to change my name to Sister Mary Benedict, remember?

            A benefit of spending weeks at the same resort year after year with Kathy is that we have a group of resort friends. Just this morning several women sat around the table on the beach discussing old boyfriends, past husbands and reunions. We agreed that no matter the looks, the changes, past and present experiences, old friends are treasured gifts.

            Today I pulled on my blouse front-to-back. We laughed. Who cares? Friends love me anyway.

            I just spotted a tee shirt on the beach with the words, “I’m Your Type” in a variety of fonts. I want that man’s shirt! Sister Mary Benedict, indeed!

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

November 25, 2015

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