About eleven years ago or so I set up a YahooGroup, printed some posters and starting planting my butt on a couch with my knitting in hand at a near by coffee shop in hopes of meeting some fellow knitters close to my age. I had been knitting at the main LYS at that time, but I only met much older women who were not the same type of knitter I was. After a couple of weeks of knitting alone a few people started dropping in. I never dreamt in a million years what an impact that simple act would have on my life eleven years later!
I’m only in touch with one of the very first members of the group, Ashley, who no longer lives here but has occasionally been able to visit due to work duties. Amanda is probably the next longest member of the group who is still attending our weekly gatherings. Over the years the group has experienced some very interesting people and situations. Eventually we tired of the abuse - expected free knitting lessons, free child care, outright insults of knitters when we were in the majority, people who came but refused to support the businesses that hosted us, etc. We eventually closed ranks and began meeting at houses instead of coffee shops.
The advantages of meeting in a home rather than in public were so much greater than I had imagined. I almost wish we had started doing so earlier. Though I’m afraid if we had our group wouldn’t be what it is now. We can talk freely about whatever topics we wish with no worries of offending someone with our views on controversial topics - politics, religion, the usual. Everyone knows everyone well. We can eat and drink what we like - including sharing homemade goodies. We can keep whatever hours work for that week’s hostess. And really the list goes on.
For the past couple years we’ve had a very generous default hostess, Dee. She houses us nearly every week as she has a house of her own with no one to inconvenience with our presence. When she is out of town or hosting other guests I often step in and host since I am only inconveniencing DH. There is one problem with that tactic - Dee never gets a week off combined with enjoying our group. So, last week when I was to have the house to myself on a Monday night I offered to be the temporary “clubhouse” for the week.
I always love playing hostess, even if I tend to get myself overexcited and stressed with all the things I want to do in terms of cooking and cleaning. But this time I think I managed it quite well. I only made a dip and mini doughnuts. I did have veggies to wash and cut up, but it really only took me about 20 minutes on the previous afternoon so was no big deal. The rest was bought - cheese, crackers, pistachios, tea. Of course everyone in the group is generous so there were contributions from several of the guests as well. Dee even brought a wonderful Mediterranean spiced nut and coconut mix - and I really should ask her for the recipe. As for the cleaning, I make sure there isn’t a ring around the toilet and that any dog hair bunnies are not bigger than the actual dogs and leave it at that because these women have become family. A little dust or clutter is not something to stress about.
As usual, there was way too much food, especially once you added in the contributions of others. It left a bit of an aftermath. But really I had everything put right within about 30 minutes of everyone leaving - including almost all of the dishes! I really need to give Dee a week off more often! Of course I’m not sure many would welcome my dining room come July with it’s western exposure and lack of AC - at least Dee’s house is well shaded. But, there are a few months to go before we get there.
I’m so grateful for this special group of women. We cover a broad spectrum of ages and life experiences. But we all have an analytical bent to our thinking (several are engineers, a scientist, an accountant, researchers etc.) so conversations around the table, be they about knitting or not, are always stimulating. It is also a nice break from other obligations during the week and none of us need to plan dinner on Monday nights. Plus, it gives us something to look forward to after getting through that first work day of the week!
Do you have a special group of people you gather with regularly? A crafty group, or book club, or dinner club? I just read this week about a gardening group that rotates each week. They share food and drink and then get to work in the hostess’s garden. That seems like a fun idea. What makes your group special to you?