Soon after opening the doors, as promised, at 7.00 pm on 18th December, we witnessed the arrival of the spectre of 'Christmas-soon-to-be'; Berry wobbled in. He didn't look too well and he shied away from any attempts at close physical proximity.
In spite of his obvious infirmity, he bore consumable offerings - sandwiches, separately containing salmon, cheese and ham, all beautifully presented.
He explained, on the grounds of ill-health, that he considered it unwise to stay and share his germs (already shared with Brenda.) We few, present at the time, acknowledged that this was a noble, considerate and generous gesture, far beyond the call of duty.
Thank you, and well done, Berry and Brenda. Get well soon!
Two near-disasters occurred. I realised that I had lost the paper plates, plastic cutlery and napkins that had been ordered on line for the event. Fortunately, some extra ones had been discovered in Jane's domestic 'war cupboard'. At the same time we found that a string of festive lights failed to function. David drove Jane's credit card, accompanied by Jane, to Tesco, at great speed. Two sets of coloured lights were procured at half-price before they were gone. Our customary ambience was thereby restored.
Participants (eventually totalling 30 people) began pouring in, and exchanged greetings, cuddles, occasional kisses (no tongues), and generally shared the goodwill of the season. Ken came dressed as (brought) a Christmas tree.
Entertainment commenced with a rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, led by a cleanly-shaven David, very soon after 8.00 pm, which is the best we've ever done for a 'prompt start'. Doubtless, our MC will near-accurately chronicle all the musical offerings in our singaround format in due course.
We were honoured by the presence of two distinguished guests, one of whom represents the operators of our venue. (I have to respect her stated desire for anonymity in this blog, and avoidance of unnecessary references to the host organization and the venue. Hence this guarded wording, but you'll know who/what I mean.)
Just before half time, David delivered a short and sensitive speech of gratitude to this person, and to the organization. A charitable donation from club funds was made, along with presentation of a magnificent bouquet of flowers. The aforementioned anonymous person graciously received these and went on to make some very nice comments about our Friday gathering, saying, “We are pleased to have you.” WOW!
Then we proceeded to partake of a diversity of food which many had brought along to share. For some, that was the best part of the evening. We pulled crackers and begrudgingly donned our silly paper hats. Consumption of intoxicating liquor was barely concealed!
Little time was left for music, but David’s cunning plans (and a slight over-run) meant that almost everyone was offered another opportunity to perform. Our guests simply said, “Pass,” but politely stayed until the end to enjoy Ray's delightful closing performance of The Happy Wanderer.
It was a splendid evening. The milk of human kindness (Shakespeare, W., 1623, Macbeth), but no real body fluids, were shared. Our appetites for food and music were satiated.
Many thanks to all who attended and contributed in whatever way, even if that simply means 'being'!
In particular, thank you, to David for your expert MC-ing, to Lynda for coordinating food, to Ken for being unusually well-behaved, and again to Berry and Brenda for not sharing their bugs, but whose sandwiches were well received. Finally, but not least, to all those good souls who stayed to help with clearing up.
God bless us, everyone! (Dickens, C.,1843, A Christmas Carol.)
We will not be meeting at the Guide Hall on 25th December.
However, we anticipate that their will be a 'critical mass' to enable us to meet on 1st January.
('Critical mass' does NOT imply a religious ceremony, nor impending nuclear meltdown!)
Any similarity to real characters, living or dead, in this post is entirely coincidental.
Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily shared by anyone at all!