“Are you free on Thursday?” was the question asked.
“I am not sure; I would need to check the diary. Why?” I asked.
“You might like to join us for afternoon tea!” was the answer.
Afternoon tea involved tea, scones, small pancakes & cakes. Butter, jam & cream also play a part. People who know me well leave aside a plate with an unbuttered scone. Invitations to a new group can cause a problem. I soon discovered that the scones were halved, buttered and topped with a layer of Jam and then a great big blob of whipped cream. Cakes were filled or decorated with a butter icing or a generous layer of cream. Some people were affronted if I didn’t partake of their efforts. I know at least one hostess who half scraped the butter off a scone and then presented it to me. Come on now, that is like picking the nuts out of a Marathon bar and handing the remainder to someone who has an allergy to Peanuts!
Playing for time, I asked a couple of questions about the Thursday afternoon event.
“Oh, it is a meeting of The Minus One Group!” the lady said.
“Minus One” I queried. “I never heard of Minus One”!
Minus One was a group of widows who gathered once a month for a chat over the tea. I promised to check my calendar and get back to the invitee.
I made discrete enquiries and the more I heard, the less I liked the idea of Minus One! I was in the early stage of widowhood at the time. I knew many widows and they seemed to go everywhere in groups of three. For some reason they never went anywhere alone, and seemed restricted to the type of events they attended. I was never into girl only living, I grew up in a male world.
I did not want to go through life like a jug with a broken handle; I wanted to be treated as an independent person in my own right. My husband died; and whether I liked it or not, I was alive and the one left to face life alone. If I was to live as long as my mother and grandmother before me, that would be at least another thirty years. Being alone was certainly no picnic, but I was determined to rebuild a life for myself. I was preparing to return to the workforce and to find new outlets and interests for my long hours of emptiness.
I broke the handle of a jug the other day and it reminded me of Minus One. I wondered…. if I had gone along for afternoon tea on that Thursday how different would my life be. Would I be blogging today or have made and met so many new friends both virtually and in person? I am glad I took the road I did.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” ~ Randy Pausch