Saturday, December 20, 2003

Christmas parties

Dear mouse, I attended three Christmas parties already, if you can call lunch with some office associates, a Christmas celebration. The first party was with a circle of close friends and the recent one was with my old lady friend. The invitation from the posh residence of old rich people was a surprise. It came from the activity center whose activity director is completely stranger to me. I did not expect the old lady to give my name and address. she no longer has the capacity to remember names of people even those close to her. I did not miss the event as I promised her that I would come. She did not even know what is the celebration for. Despite her age, she is still beautiful. Her face glowed when she saw me. I last saw her a day after Thanksgiving and to her it seems it is already years. While she could hardlly recognize her nurses, (she thinks that they are just ladies who happened to come by in her room by mistake), she welcomed me with open arms. The nurse from the desk asked me to go to the station to sign the log book. She was new in the facility. Other nurses just allow me to visit without all those formalities. I escorted her to the social hall where "residents" were already gathered. I was amused when the new nurse asked me how long have I known the lady because she said that she heard that I am an old time friend. She must be doing her math since most of the lady's contemporaries are already deceased or are already wheelchair-bound. Another reason may be is because I am a Filipino. She has that baffled look in her face. I, am a friend of the gracious lady ? hmmm. When the " residents" kept pouring in, I gave up my seat beside her but I assured her that I will be around. Except for the caregiver of the old lady who is German, all the nursing assistants who came by with their patients are Filipinos. One was a childless Filipina who has been working as a caregiver for more than twenty years. She is sending her nieces to college taking up nursing in the Philippines. Another is a gay caregiver who has a beautiful lady as his patient. The "resident's" son with the new wife came and handed him an envelop. Must be a token of appreciation. I know of one caregiver who was given a car by her rich patient as a Christmas gift. (But this will be a subject of another article about caregivers). The party was simple. A choir was invited to sing Christmas carols. Refreshments were served---apple cider, cranberry punch, cakes and cookies. Outside, the caregivers, employees and family guests feasted on pasta, pasta and pasta. Ow, they came in different forms...flat, shell-shaped, long and thin and thick and round. After the party was over, my old lady friend decided to stay in the table where she chatted with some fellow residents. She introduced me over and over that the German caregiver said that I must be the lady she is always talking about. I bid adieu with a promise that I will call her first hour in the morning. The other "party" was just a lunch for the ladies in our department. We are a diverse group, Vietnamese, Hispanic, African, Chinese Americans, natural US born and a Filipino----cat. The tete-a-tete was about kids, grown-up kids, celebrations of Christmas for the non-Christians and the holidays--corporate Holidays on Dec. 26 and January 2nd. yay... This is the only time when we did not talk about numbers. We will worry about that at the end of the month and at the start of the year for year closing. There will be three more Christmas parties next week. But nothing could compare with my Christmas parties in the Philippines where aside from food, we enjoy parlor games. This is one celebration when even executives above 40's rolled up their sleeves not to work but to become children one day of the year. Executives who are fond of yakking surely do not win the egg relay contest. They could not close their mouth for one long minute. The CA t


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