Wednesday night I went to my "book" club. I put the word "book" in parentheses because the books that we read each month are only discussed for 20 pecent of the time. The other 80 percent of the time is spent in non-stop chatter, babbling, eating and laughter. Hey, women have to have an excuse to get together and yack. Hiding behind the guise of a good book is about as noble as it gets.
This month we read Gilead by Maryanne Richardson. The consensus was it probably shouldn't have won the Pulitzer. We talked about paid clergy vs. lay clergy, and how that makes a difference in the spirituality of a congregation. That wisdom was imparted in less than 10 minutes. Then it was onto the important stuff of life.
It's a good thing KS's husband took the kids to see the Goo Goo Dolls that night, or we definitely would have kept them up late on a school night. It was nice that there were only four of us there. KS talked more than she's ever talked in nearly four years of book club. It was great to hear what was on her mind after always wondering month after month. She talked about her kids, their activities, which one she was worried about, and how she wanted to help him. We all listened intently, wondering when, or if, she would ever stop talking. When she finally finished, she sighed, like she had just let go of a great burden.
"Did you know there's a make-out rock at the high school?" I asked when KS stopped talking. "What? Where?" they wanted to know. Not even the friend who went to that high school knew anything about the make-out rock. We agreed that it must be a new rock.
So I told them about the make-out rock--painted a patriotic blue and gold--that my daughter, Adrienne, had told me about earlier that day. One of her swim team friends lost $500 that week for kissing a girl at the rock. His parents had promised him the money if he didn't kiss a girl until he graduated. Too bad, he only had two and a half more months. We agreed that she must have been irresistably hot. The same deal applies for his little sister, who is Adrienne's very close swim team friend. The jury is out on whether she'll make it. So far no kissing. But, she still has two years to go. On prom night she could say to her date, "OK, you can kiss me goodnight, but it's going to cost you $500." Then she gets the cash and the kisses.
We giggled over that.
When I told my daughter I thought $500 was not worth never kissing anybody your whole high school career, she looked at me, aghast. "Well, it's just a fun part of high school, and it's . . . . . . " I stopped talking after looking at her face. It said, "Mother, you are revolting!" I didn't say another word, and there was one of those awkward mother/daughter silences. Apparently, I said the wrong thing.
"So, would you pay your kids not to kiss?" I asked my book club friends.
"It's like paying them for grades," AS said.
"It's like paying them to be "moral,'" KS said.
"We live in such a weird place," MC said.
"You said it," I agreed.
On to other topics. Weight. It's always weight.
"KS, you look like you've lost weight," I observe.
"Yes, about 12 pounds," she beams.
"Hey, MC and I have also lost 12 pounds recently!" (MC is my Weight Watchers buddy.)
"That's awesome," KS says.
"Yeah, it's just great," AS whines. "I've put on 30 pounds since November." (AS is 25 weeks pregnant.She spent the first trimester eating every 10 minutes to keep from throwing up.) We all look sympathetically at AS, knowking exactly how it feels to put on lots of weight during pregnancy. That's why we're all dieting, to get rid of the excess poundage put on over years of childbearing.
"So, KS, why do you have so many great treats tonight, if you're dieting?" I ask as I pop a sixth malted milk egg into my mouth. I absolutely love those things.
"Yes why?" MC asks, laughing. She's done better than me at avoiding KS's beautiful spread.
"Sorry, I didn't know everyone was dieting," she says sheepishly.
"I'm not!" says AS, loading her plate with chocolate chip cookie bars, cheese ball and crackers and those wickedly good Costco cream puffs.
About 11 pm we stand up. "We should go," AS says. She loads another plate for her husband.
"What's the book next month?" KS asks.
"Oh, yeah," AS remembers. "It's my month. I thought we'd do Katherine Patterson. You can read any book by her and we'll discuss her as an author."
"Oh, that'll be different," I say. Bridge to Terabithia is such an amazing book."
Maybe it will get 30 percent of the alloted book club time. I wonder. Maybe even more. But not if more women come who need to talk about work, school, husbands, kids, pregnangy, delivery, weight, exercise, moving, and other such things.
Which they undoubtedly will if the past four years is any indication. That's OK with me.