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Bonzer Words!: Matriarch Of The Family

Friends and family gather to celebrate Ina's 85th birthday, and Glenice Whitting is among them.

Glenice writes for Bonzer! magazine. Do please visit www.bonzer.org.au

The invitation reads, "Ina is celebrating her eighty-fifth Birthday. To share this momentous and significant occasion, Ina would like you to join her, friends and family for and alfresco light luncheon at her home.''

A gentle breeze flutters white tablecloths. A trestle bends and groans under the weight of food. Family and friends mix and mingle, kissing, hugging and swapping memories. A celebration, a recognition of Ina's eighty-five years. This birthday officially puts her in to the category of 'Frail Aged', but she will not be pigeonholed. Ina may have white hair, but she still possesses a will of iron. Like a conductor, she raises her baton and the members of her orchestra instantly obey her commands. Her masterpiece is the creation of a perfect 'Grand Occasion'.

Since my birth I have willingly attended these command performances that establish her family's place in our world. Today her daughters dutifully, lovingly, follow Ina's orders, greet guests and blow up balloons. A family friend cuts, chops and peels, Another whips cream into fantastic creations and handwritten name-tags magically appear. The garden edges are trimmed, flowerbeds sculptured and tables set up in rows. Treasure maps of table seating are prominently displayed, place cards obvious. Guests anxiously check where they are sitting. Like the ordered lists of telephone speed dials the position determines your place in the clan. Cut crystal sparkles and prayed-for sun blesses the scene.

Grace is offered, and table-by-table we file to fill plates to overflowing. Chocolate log, pavlova and port wine trifle nourish our memories and sweeten our souls. Stories are swapped, laughter shared, new friends made and old wounds healed.

Nothing has changed.

Glenice Whitting


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