I would like to give you a little insight into our local rose society and the characters who attend. The meetings are held on the second Friday night of each month. Of course, this is at odds with the medication most of the members take. The second Friday night of the month just doesn't fit in with their schedules. Keeping up with which tablet is taken daily, with food, without food, in the morning or at night, pink, blue, white or yellow, is a demanding schedule to track. Therefore, remembering when the meeting is on is difficult. Those who are lucky enough to still have their spouses have an advantage over the single members. Enough said.
The meetings are held in an historic town in a church hall; a church none of the members attend by the way. This seems to be the norm for many rose societies’ gatherings. I struggle to understand. What is the link between roses and the almighty? Is there something I am missing? I would rather not state my thoughts on this, but I will. As with bowling clubs, these meetings are another of heavens’ waiting rooms. I know, sad but true. Is this the link?
The majority of the members are older men and women with so much knowledge and wisety (made up word, thanks very much) among them. They know everything about the world and each other, just ask them. That is a false statement. No need to ask. Their insight is forced upon you like a strong wind, and let’s not gets started on those discussions.
As for the members themselves I will give you a brief outline. First off the rank is Fred and his lovely wife of 45 years, Jane. Fred is a large ruddy faced man who fancies he is a gift to all ladies, married or single. When arriving at a meeting, Fred will cross the room to welcome each woman with an almost too long bear hug. Jane has limited toleration for Fred’s behavior and copes with this by blaming the women and sending daggers from her eyes directly to each huggee (another made up word, thanks).
Mavis is another larger than life member of the society with purple hair and bright red lipstick, which is painted outside the lines of her lips to falsely emphasise the lips that are shrinking away . Mavis holds the gavel; therefore no one has ever had the audacity to confront Mavis with the fact that purple hair and red lips together are an atrocity.
Violet sits in the corner by herself with her knitting. Violet speaks so quietly and when she does the other members, out of the common courtesy of which they abound, all stop speaking and lean forward to listen. Once Violet has stopped speaking, the members recommence talking at a volume you can hear over in the neighboring town.
Three sisters attend the meetings. In keeping with statistical norms, majority rules and if the other members of the society do not have their wits about them (and most don’t), these sisters will take over each meeting with members such as Violet fading into the background. Thank goodness for Mavis and her gavel.
Then there is Florence and Harry. Harry panders after Florence like a love sick puppy. Enough said.
The members have the option of bringing in a rose for judging to each meeting, with points allocated and an overall winner announced at the end of the year. The competition is fierce. This brings me to Daisy. Daisy sits next to a different member each meeting and will let her companion know in no uncertain terms, the winner of each night is a bitch if female or a bastard if male. Daisy’s thoughts are common knowledge and needless to say, members run to be seated either side by other members prior to Daisy taking a seat.
After the formalities and name calling is over, supper is served. This is an event no one would want to miss. Even though all have had dinner prior to attending the meeting, a gluttonous amount of food is laid out on the supper table. There is enough food to feed the masses. This consists of homemade slices, sausage rolls and little sandwiches. The competition flows over from the roses to who made the best slice. In Daisy’s eyes, those who bring the most delectable offerings are also bitches.
This is an overall look inside a rose society meeting. I have only attended these meetings on a number of occasions. Even though I have a love of roses, I am not ready to be in the waiting room.
This short story is dedicated to Jane McGrath. A story well known in Australia, Jane and Glenn McGrath’s much-publicised experience with breast cancer led to the formation of what has become one of Australia’s most respected and recognised charities, the McGrath Foundation. Jane, a loved mother and wife, lost her life to breast cancer. 1966 - 2008