Thursday I took the day off from work and chauffeured a (as I called them in my email to my bosses requesting the day off) “gaggle of old people” to go look at flowers!
The group of retired / older people in our church is adorably called the Elderberries. They meet once a month and have either a guest speaker, or a party, or an informative lecture/tour, or go on a field trip. And there’s always food involved… we are Baptist, after all.
May was a field trip month, and I was asked by the gentleman in charge of planning the activities if I might be available to drive one of the church vans for their May outing. Having previously jumped through the obligatory, insurance- related hoops, I am on the official list of approved drivers. I refrained from pointing out that I generally work on Thursdays, and told him I'd be glad to. After all, I get 4 weeks of vacation time and other than a much needed and desired week at the beach later in the year, I have no other major plans.
Anyway, the itinerary was to go to the Azalea Path in Gibson County and roam around and see the flowers. Then go to the Ponderosa in Princeton for lunch. (I mentioned there would be food involved, right?) As the chauffeur, I was told my lunch would be paid for, so, Whoo hoo!
Now, I’ve been to the Azalea Path before. If memory serves, I drove a bunch (I’ll
refrain from using the word "gaggle" again, although it was equally appropriate the previous time – in my mind’s eye, I’m seeing the scene from the Music Man during the “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little” song where the town ladies turn into chickens.
Anyone?) from the older ladies’ Sunday School class. When we were there that time, my dental hygienist was there with her children. Turns out her in-laws own and run the place.
During the "long" drive to the church from the condo that morning, I told Mom that I fully anticipated earning a star for my crown in heaven while on this trip. We weren't too far on the trip when I felt I'd already earned it. (Envision driving on a road, and there being a 90 degree turn in the road, and being told to turn.)
The day was beautiful, (despite the complaints that it was too hot), and the flowers were in full bloom (again, despite the complaints that it was too late in their season). When Mom and I had gone before, we only looked at the area on the left side of the property. Didn't have time, or were too pooped, to look at the right side. So this time, we hit the right side. Ok, that wasn't by design. When we got there, the first priority was hitting the restrooms, and they were on the right side.
According to the brochure, there was some damage to trees several years ago, due to straight line winds, so they had a chainsaw guy come in and do his thing. They were pretty cool!
This woman kept posing in and amongst the flowers demanding I take her picture! Isn't she cute?
After allowing for time to wander around the flowers, everyone was supposed to meet back at the vans at 11:30, so we could get to lunch by noon. Well, very few people were at the vans, and God alone knew where all the others were. At one point, the guy in charge was calling his sister's cell phone to find out where she was, and we were in the van listening to her cell phone ring, because she'd left it in her purse! The phrase "herding cats" came to my mind and, for some reason, refused to leave! (Although the guy in this picture looks like he's having a more successful time of it.)
We got to the Ponderosa where the manager was prepared (if that could ever really be the case) for all 20+ of us to descend. Other than the one woman who constantly felt compelled to share with the whole group that she would rather have Mexican for lunch, we all had a good meal. Mine was free, as I've already mentioned, AND I had enough leftovers to take home for dinner! It was a two-fer!
By the time we returned to the church everyone was pooped. Including this driver.
I'm still on the list of approved drivers for the church, but if asked again, I may have to find a less energetic crowd to drive around! Or at least one that's going to a mall! However, this free food in exchange for driving thing could be a nice racket!