June 28th Meeting @ Mary’s w/Shelley, Marie, Karen S, Karen C (!), Marty, Liz, Yours Truly; Viv – NYC, Sue – FL, Kitty – MIA (not Miami), Rose (family issue)
MAJOR NEWS: Marie is going to have a grandson in November! Robert and Brittany got (so, so quietly per their preference) married in the spring. Marie has known all this since the last meeting but remained ‘mum.’ Her Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Philosophy of Parenting kept her silently rejoicing until the Happy Couple gave the green light to share. Congratulations, all! So much HAPPY!!!
Karen C’s Volunteer Management Technique (based on the Kill Them with Kindness School of Life): Context is swim team pep rallies; applicable elsewhere. Ahem:
“Oh, so you’d like us to have weekly pep rallies? Well, I think that’s a great idea… So, next year when you’re in charge of everything, you can incorporate that into the calendar and then manage it. Won’t that be great? …Oh? You work and can’t do any of it? Well, I work, too, and so we’re doing it this way now.”
Vacation Plan Recaps: Many of us beaching it at some point. Marty may win on mileage and variety: Maine, midwest (?), and somewhere in the Rockies.
Wedding Wars: still not enough love in Rhode Island (see earlier posts); mega strategizing required for Philly (but peace abounds, esp. if you ask Shelley’s Ron how it’s all going); apparently Mary & Katie are hosting a bridal shower for a friend’s daughter (but does that bride know?)
This rarely happens, but Yours Truly has drawn a blank: Some sort of hilarity ensued during dinner. Something about body parts as labels/symbols for some odd behavior??? Anyway, [insert what we all were laughing about here] then tell me (e.g. comment) the details. Sheesh…
All significant others doing fine. See above for the major news (Marie!).
Marie picked Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf because it’s short (suits our compacted reading time), the writing style (clear, economical, revealing, lovely), and she likes the author.
- We all read it and liked it.
- Agreed with Marie on writing style. Liz added that it was ‘about nothing,’ yet a scene about making sandwiches was so revealing of setting, time, and character. And a bunch of those sorta nothing scenes added up until big things happen or change. Kind of like life.
- Haruf’s last book; pretty sure he knew he was dying. So, did some of this experience directly tinge the darker/moodier elements of this story? How could it not?
- Why sleeping (literally) together? Why not early evening company, the time when you’d normally have reconnected with a spouse. Esp. given that sleeping habits (or insomnia, apnea, etc.) can be so disruptive to self, let alone a bed mate. Clearly, this peaceful co-sleeping was the fictional part of the story…
- Lovely elements and tone, but overall left a bitter taste. Addie had found a way to live how she wished with Louis (and vice versa), then her independence ends up getting undermined once again by her son’s needs and in ‘defense’ of her relationship with her grandson.
- Most of us concurred that omitting the son from the story would’ve been quite nice. Would it have had enough tension to be a published story? Probably not.
- Why the gossip? Why did folks in small town Holt even care? Some of us quickly got that it was ‘the order of things’ that triggered the gossip. Others just did not see the point of anyone caring. A few suggested variations on the idea that nobody was really all that upset, but it was an odd relationship and it was fun/juicy to natter about it a bit. Those who had 1:1 interactions with Addie and/or Louis ended up being fine to fantastic about it. Except the son.
- We weren’t unsympathetic to the son’s background, but he was stuck in a child’s mindset and was punishing everyone around him with not-so-passive aggression and greed. Jerk.
- Did Louis deserve to be happy? And why did Addie pick him? The answers interrelate. He came back to his wife; he did what he could to make amends. He was a known commodity and in his current iteration seemed (and then proved) to be a good guy. Example: seeing the mice, getting the dog. Also, he was right there.
- Who should play Addie and Louis? Jane Fonda: minority of strong yeses, more stronger against. Helen Mirren – better in so many ways and her cheek bones are just fine, thanks. Louis: not Robert Redford, but he’d be better than DeNiro. Paul Newman may be best (but not alive); no clear winner. Well, except that Fonda and Redford were the ones actually cast.
NEXT MEETING: July 18th is in the running, stand by for final notice. Location to be verified, too. Book is definitely The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.