coming for lunch today. They are part of a group that began to meet about ten years ago. There were seven of us to begin, we crept up to eleven and now our numbers have dropped again to below seven.
Our common bond was knitting. Our ages vary from almost ninety to thirty-two. The almost ninety year old is getting frail. Her eyesight is now very poor. She still lives alone but one or other of her daughters calls in each day. Today she is not coming because there is a family event.
The thirty-two year old now has twin girls. They are interstate this weekend but the girls liven the occasions on which our friend can make it. They are nice little girls who are good at entertaining themselves.
One good friend returned to America. We always knew that her time here was limited but I miss her perhaps even more than the rest of the group. We could talk books as well as knitting. She took an intelligent interest in food and would always produce something interesting for our shared lunches.
Last year another member of the group returned to New Zealand and we miss her too.
Another girl just dropped out of the group. We were sorry to see her go because we felt she needed a support group but she made so many excuses not to come that, in the end, we had to accept she did not want to remain.
Another now has Alzheimer's. The onset was rather early and we accommodated her as long as we could. It gave her husband a break from caring for her and it was never any bother to us. Someone would pick her up and take her home and she was, for a while, well enough to enjoy our company.
And so it has gone on. We have, with one exception, met at one another's homes on birthdays or "just because we haven't seen each other in a while".
But our group has dwindled. Today just two of them are coming here to lunch. It is the birthday of one. The husband of the other is going sailing with mates. They both want to see my father as they are kind enough to say they genuinely enjoy his company. One of them is bringing a chair for mending. My father has made the birthday girl a wooden pen because she makes him socks.
I know we will enjoy ourselves although it will be tinged with sadness for a time when there were more of us. We have been fortunate.