There’s a part in “Auntie Mame” — a book that was turned into a Broadway musical and a film — where the main character says, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
For years I thought this referred to not having enough food, jewelry, money or enough of anything. Now in my vintage years, I realize the remark means people fail to focus on the abundance in their lives.
Watching the cardinals outside my window makes me smile, as did a herd of javelinas, including babies, teenagers and adults, that recently strolled by. My neighbor and I were amazed to see them out in the afternoon. My dogs Charlie and Toots went wild, but couldn’t scare them off.
After the javelinas drank some water I’d put out for the birds and scrounged around for something to eat, they sauntered back to wherever they live.
An unexpected phone call from my cousin in New York gave me great satisfaction. Although we haven’t seen each other in many years, we recently reconnected and talk on the phone about once a month. Having her in my life gives me pleasure.
Sometimes I miss the hustle and bustle of big cities, but I’ve come to appreciate my quiet life. Every once in a while I put on some rock ’n’ roll music and dance but know it would be impossible to go out dancing for hours like I did when I was in my 30s. I’d be taken out of the nightclub on a stretcher.
Taking a Zumba class appeals to me but so many women I know who love the classes begin to complain of knee pain. Aware that my mind is that of a young woman but my body is deteriorating keeps me from pushing the envelope. Hearing about people breaking a leg, an arm or even toes keeps me balanced. Each phase of life offers different opportunities.
One constant in my life since I was about 8 years old is reading a good book. Finding one I love never fails to excite me. Writing a book thrills me even more. Watching my students publish their books is the most fun of all.
Traveling less means I spend more time at home with my dogs. While Charlie and Toots are not my whole life, they make my life whole. Watching Toots run in circles with excitement or Charlie nudging me awake with his paw delights me. Even if I’ve gone out for just five minutes to get the mail, they leap for joy upon my return.
The house I live in is small, I no longer shop at Saks Fifth Avenue and vacations are a thing of the past, but I have never been happier or more content than I am now.
My life is surely a banquet, filled with fascinating friends and lots of laughter, and I’m healthy enough to still play nine holes, weather permitting. Could anything be sweeter?