A Confederacy of Crazy Women
I was in the Sandhills Woman's Exchange a week or so ago. Fall is here, and so is their chili - and oh, honey, I find I can't resist their chili!
The wonderful women who run the place both in the shop and in the kitchen are full of life, fun and stories. They are a pack of crazy women.
I grew up in a family that had wonderfully lively women, much like the gals at the Exchange, with a sense of humor and purpose and a little streak of crazy. There was never a shortage of tales at the table.
My Great-Aunt Dot was older and retired when we were growing up, but she had been married a time or two, would take a drink or two, and wore blue mascara, though she swore she wore little makeup. If that is true, I am Queen Elizabeth, either one of them!
She pinched your cheeks so hard you nearly yelped, but she lived a long life, died the last day she could before paying another insurance premium, and I suspect she had left no stone unturned. She knew a great deal about antiques and had a nice shop in Baltimore, in between husbands, I imagine.
She once was in a market, by this time old and using a cane, when a young purse-snatcher thought he had an easy mark. The story goes that she swung her cane and caught him around the ankle and brought him down. The police returned her purse. The kid was lucky he got off so easy; he only went to jail.
My Nana, Mother's mum, was quiet and rather a stay-at-home kinda gal. She loved having a single beer every afternoon, a little can of peanuts by her side, which she would dip into daintily (she came from Richmond, don't ya know), and she would either watch a little TV or read the afternoon paper.
Remember an afternoon paper? The second post delivery and shops that dropped off your purchases from your morning shopping and would pick it up from your home should you need to return it! Another time for sure.
Nana had a warmth to her, the prettiest hands I have ever seen, and though she preferred staying home, if anything went wrong she would come to our house and run things. When my mother had her babies, when everyone in the family but me got hepatitis from seafood, out she came and stayed for months.
Nana wasn't a cut-up or as eccentric as Dot, but she could make you see the world before World War II, my mom and Aunt Joyce and their antics as kids.
She would tell me stories of Richmond growing up and what is was like to "have a beau" before she fell in love with my grandfather. She also told me to remember "my people are from Richmond," a badge of honor and delight.
I have more wonderful women in my family and have met many, many more right here, who tell wonderfully comic stories of family and the odd, slightly naughty, joke. I have heard tables of women laughing so hard I thought oxygen masks might drop from the ceiling. I have heard tales of triumph and woe almost always ending with a story to make us laugh as we go out the door.
Women support one another and share their tales, say crazy things and tease each other to keep connection going and growing ... you simply can't tweet this.
The gals at the Exchange do what they do to raise money for a good cause, to share time together, and if you sit at one their tables and eat their fabulous chili, you can be wrapped into the jokes, the exchange of information, and best of all, the connection and club of crazy women. They really are the ones who will get the job done, whatever it is.
So here is to all the gals who connect, tell tales large, small, real and maybe made up that put some energy into lunch and life.
Cast your mind back to the women you know who were a tad crazy and the backbone of your life and give me a little smile while you join the rest of us here doing the same.
Look around - this area is full of wonderfully crazy women.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.
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