When I was a girl, I loved few things more than the Mother-Daughter Banquet in the Brownsville United Methodist Church. No grand big-city hall could hold a candle to the loveliness in that church basement that brimmed with tiny plastic floral favors set at every table and squares of orange - studded Jell-O with shredded carrots.
We wore our Easter finest and patent-leather shoes. Then someone sang. It was a delightful evening sitting next to my favorite person in the world, my mother. Our church didn't have these every year or even, I don't think, very often. But I remember one evening before a childhood banquet sitting in the apple tree in the pony lot. The tree was in full-explosion mode with pinkish white blossoms covering every inch. I was in a fantasy-land tree, only it was real life and I was going to the banquet!
April and May are when we have banquets here in Indiana. Maybe it's so everywhere, a time to celebrate academic and sports awards, install honor society members and women's club officers. It's when organizations recognize their members and hand out certificates. It's mother-daughter season.
Something I've enjoyed immensely about being a local author these recent years is that about now, my plate is full. And I do mean the one with the chicken salad and chiffon pies as well as the metaphorical one found on various pages of my planner. People still ask me to speak at their banquets this time of year.
Banquet season kicked off for me yesterday at the Foster Grandparents Program recognition banquet for seniors who serve community children from Rush, Hancock and Henry counties. There are 48 in the program that send seniors to day care centers, Head Start classrooms and other schools where they read to and with children, rock babies and show our young'uns how much they care. Those babies and children may still be talking about these Grandparents 90 or close to a hundred years from now to their great-grandchildren. Imagine that!
So ICAP Senior Services Director Mary Ellen Brausa invited me to be the speaker. It was the carnation corsage that got to me. How many times in life do we get to sport a corsage? Aside from high school Christmas dances and spring proms and the days our kids get married, well, none. Except I got to wear one yesterday. And can you believe it was the color of my fingernails?
The theme? Share Today, Shape Tomorrow. That sounds about right. But the day also took me back many moons, the distinctive scent of the carnation to a time when I sat in an apple tree on a farm and dreamed of attending a banquet that very night with my mother. I didn't think life could possibly get any sweeter.
Thank you Grandparents, and thank you, Mary Ellen, for allowing me the honor.