"Excuse me," the energetic, feisty-looking woman said... she, in her bright purple pant suit and sorority letters badge, "but are all these seats taken?"
I stopped spreading strawberry jam long enough to look up and confirm that she was addressing me... me, sitting at a small coffee table at the end of a row of empty tables and chairs. "No, no, it's just me."
"Well there are four of us, deary, so you're the privileged one!"
I wasn't sure I heard her right, and if I did I wasn't sure what she meant by it, but I figured I'd find out.
She sat down at the table next to mine, and asked me where I was from. I resumed my jam-spreading and answered her. Then, assuming by her bold display of ECU colors that she was not with our party, I added that we are here for a wedding. She had looked as though she wanted a conversation, so at this, she perked right up. In return, she said she was from Baltimore and was here for the 50th reunion of the Chi Omega sorority at ECU, of which she was a founding member. She hadn't been back to Greenville since she graduated, and was sadly one of only six original sorority sisters that made it to the reunion.
"You know, one of the best things about being 70 is that you can eat butter on anything!" she said cheerfully as she spread a packet on her biscuit. "The older I get, the more perks I discover."
Shortly, her three friends showed up, and then two more who complained that no one had knocked on their door to wake them up - gray hair, glasses, orthopedic shoes, flowered pant suits, and matching sorority badges, all of them. I listened, amused, as they talked of how the evening before was just "a pit," and how disgraceful it is that those young girls wore such short skirts. They were suspicious that the rest of their sisters hadn't even been invited to the event, and were certain that the girls were surprised that these women were still alive and well enough to show up.
"Did you know today's tour of the campus is a walking tour? Can you imagine! Have you seen the size of the campus now?"
"I would have hoped for a tram or something. We old ladies aren't going to get very far in a walking tour."
"And tonight there will be a band, but since none of us brought our husbands, who are we supposed to dance with?"
"I guess we'll just dance with each other! Won't that disturb those girls!"
"Yes, serves them right. You know, they acted last night like they had to talk to us, but they didn't know what to say!"
Mom interjected that maybe they should have brought their grandsons with them, and the girls would have been much more interested in talking to them.
"That's not a bad idea!"
"Say, I wonder I didn't think to get my grandson to come with me. You know, he's in college..."
I pointed out the groom of the wedding as he came in the room, groggy but glowing, and the conversation turned. They asked us about our connection to the groom, and we told them. We said Kevan just had to be at the church on time, and other than that we were enjoying our own little vacation. By this time, I was finishing the last of my tea and gathering up my trash.
"Well, I hope the wedding goes off wonderfully. And more than that, that the marriage lasts and is happy."
We all agreed that this is the more important thing. I wished the ladies a good weekend and they thanked us for sharing our space (the other three empty tables?) with them, and Mom and I said goodbye to "the Golden Girls."
On our way out, I paused and passed on their good wishes to the groom.