Deep thoughts, random insights, and musings by Susan Jacobs

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Just me and the guys

Last Thursday I was invited as the guest speaker for the men's club at a local Jewish assisted living facility. Since men are in the minority at the residence (which is fairly typical of most senior homes) they have their own group that meets twice a month for lunch-time activities, which gives them a chance to form friendships with other men and have their own space, away from all the female-dominated activities.

Apparently the men-only rule does not apply to guest speakers, which was lucky for me, since I had a wonderful time with this group of gentlemen.

I wasn't sure what to expect before I went. Often, even facilities for fairly independent older adults end up caring for those with early dementia and other serious health problems. I thought perhaps my lunch crowd would not be able to hear what I said, and not be able to understand what they could hear.

Fortunately, I was wrong about that. While one man complained at the end that he "hadn't heard a word" I said, the rest of the group of about 11 men seemed to be able to hear me (I spoke as loudly and clearly as I could), and a few of the men were very inquisitive. I was asked to talk about my work at The Chronicle, while we all lunched together. I had prepared some notes, but they were really unnecessary, since there were enough questions to keep the conversation going for about an hour.

Even the food was good -- most of us had the four-cheese chef salad with various side dishes and chocolate cupcakes for dessert. The meal was served restaurant-style, with each person asked for his order. The waitresses told me that this meeting of the men's group was the largest one yet. Since there were more men than could fit around the large dining room table where we were seated, some ended up clustering around me at the head of the table. I felt like the most popular girl in the high school cafeteria, especially since all the men were so intent on hearing what I had to say.

I was also glad to see that the men treated each other well. Some of the ones who came earliest to lunch gave up their seats at the table for those who came later, so that everyone would be comfortable, and everyone was nice to the waitresses. Altogether, it was one of the nicest lunch meetings I have had in a long time.

Now, if only these guys were 50 or 60 years younger...


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