14 November 2010

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere

This week I have mostly been.. organising my Grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.

By working on this for the last while this is definitely one of those things that I have become quite blasé about, if not completely desensitized to, the notion of exactly how preposterous it is that two people could be married long enough to celebrate a 60th anniversary together. Nonetheless after more than a few weeks of planning a party was held for them on Saturday wherein all their children returned to Dublin along with most of their grandchildren, and a video skype-call was placed to allow their other grandchildren, and three newly-minted great-grandchildren, all to be a part of the day's proceedings. It came as a complete surprise for my grandparents, and the look on my grandfather's face as he walked into the room and saw so many people there was something that I will remember for a long, long time.

The second preposterous aspect of the day was the fact that a good portion of the non-family members present (I believe the technical term may be "friends") had only known my grandparents for less than three years. Every morning for the last few years my grandparents go out for a coffee, and when the hotel in which they took their morning libations became victim to that which passes for our economy three years ago and closed, they were forced to transfer their custom elsewhere. In doing so they met a whole horde of similarly aged dilettantes whose morning rituals paralleled their own, and started to form new and genuine friendships. Indeed when my grandmother had a stroke earlier this year their coffee-buddies tracked down my grandparents' phone-number and called to find out if everything was ok when they failed to show at the usual time. Thus on Saturday when one of the morning regulars gave a speech it sounded for all the world like he had known my grandfather all his life, and all this based on information gained over the course of an hour a day conversing on shared political and sporting biases.

So I was left on Saturday night with two thoughts, firstly that a long and happy life is not the exclusive preserve of fiction, and secondly, that you never lose the ability to make genuine friendships.

This makes me happy.

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