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Senior Slumber

By: Carolynn Mostyn

Winter in Ohio seems to last for about nine months. In my head I know it is not that long but there are many days that lack sunshine and warmth. When winter doldrums hit me, I try to focus on something fun. Maybe something that has already passed or will be coming up. One of those somethings is the annual 'senior slumber'. What is that you ask? It is an event! You do not need to purchase advanced tickets nor do you need to buy tickets at all. It is not as popular as baseball or football and many would laugh at the thought of ever participating, but to eight winter-tired, need a break women it is truly a major event.

In my own mind, I am no different than when I was eighteen. Well, maybe a little wiser, a little slower and my joints shout out snap, crackle and pop as I walk, but my attitude and heart have an uncontrollable kid like spirit. Activities have changed, but the way I approach them has not, with just as much interest and enthusiasm. Instead of playing team sports, I play soccer or badminton in the back yard with the grandchildren. Taking a ride in the country seems to be more on the agenda than mountain climbing and the teacup ride is more my cup of tea than space mountain, although I need Dramamine for both. I counteract feeling like an antique by occasionally participating in younger activities, such as 'senior slumber', thus keeping my spirits in order.

A friend of mine has a house on a lake and every year a group of us, the bridge group (as in card game not building) travels there for an overnighter. A slumber party 50's and 60's style! This is 'senior slumber'. The event begins early in the morning, leaving town and making a couple of stops at garden centers, craft stores or antique shops along the way. Recently, we decided visiting antique stores was getting old. Finding them a bit depressing seeing that our childhood memories were now labeled as 'antiques'! Oh, I forgot the most important thing. Of course, we stop to eat.

Arriving at the lake, we drop our luggage and head out for fun. The contents of our slumber luggage has changed from baby doll P.J.'s, ouigi boards, potato chips and candy bars to night gowns, pills, bladder leak protection pads, for the active woman and sugar free candy. Lake activities might not include water skiing or racing the speedboat, but we do some pretty fast paced pontooning. After dinner, we enjoy a relaxing sunset, wine and cheese cruise. Returning to land we build a bonfire by the lake and make, need I say, S'mores, how young is that? When the mosquitoes come out, we go in. After an evening of talking and games it is time to slumber. Okay, so maybe we go to bed before midnight and are sleeping in beds instead of sleeping bags on the floor, but our attitudes are youthful. We have yet to saran wrap a toilet seat or short sheet a bed, but we have a great time.

After a nights rest, we have breakfast, take a trip to an Amish store, craft store or maybe spend time sitting on the dock talking and watching the fish swim by, (code for sneaking a quick nap). We eat lunch, (eating is a major portion of senior slumber) relax in the sun and play some cards. Once again, we are off to do more high-energy pontooning and then…dinnertime.

After two days of eating, talking, card playing and pontoon excursions, our jaws may be tired, but our sanity and attitudes are restored. Giving us new memories to hold throughout the winter months, in anticipation of next year's rejuvenation. Maybe we are beyond the half-century mark and not participating in strenuous kid's activities, but we have found tubing behind a pontoon boat can be as much fun as a speedboat… given our age. We are once again energized. Maturing in body with our young spirits still intact we are the same girls that slumbered at parties many years ago!

Even if you live somewhere that sunshine and warmth are present all year, plan an annual event with a group of friends. Having the memories is precious and the anticipation priceless. You are never too mature to love life like a child, so live young.

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