The Suitcase Lady


July 14, 2009, 10:53 pm

I am fully aware that a sunset is merely a sunrise in reverse. But I have a definite affinity for the former, perhaps because I’m not at my most alert in the A.M. hours.

Enjoying the splendor of a sunset is exclusively a human thing. I can’t gather the cats on the front porch at twilight to have them appreciate the beauty of the sun’s descent. They only focus on the stirrings of small, nocturnal creatures.

So it is up to us human types to gather on beaches and porches applauding the sun’s nightly show. In some locales, Hawaii and Key West to name two, bagpipers magically appear to pipe down the sun. These gatherings are free and, as of now, blessedly devoid of corporate sponsorship.

One of my favorite authors, Fannie Flagg, has her fictional characters in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, form a Sunset Club.

For years, every evening the same group… all brought their lawn chairs to Elner’s yard and sat and talked and watched the sun go down.

Here is a conversation between two octogenarian Sunset Club members from her book Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.

That night everyone had gone home after watching the sunset, except Tot and Elner, who were still sitting in the side yard talking about the good old days. Elner asked Tot, “Do you remember that maple syrup that used to come in a little tin house, looked like a cabin?”

“Oh yeah. And remember that three-in-one rainbow, pink and blue and white coconut candy? And that brown bread that came in a can?”

“Hell,” said Tot, “I’m so old I still remember learning to read from those little Dick and Jane books they used to have. I guess old Dick and Jane are headed for the old folks’ home now… along with Nancy Drew, and the Rover boys. Little Orphan Annie must be a hundred and eight by now.”

Elner looked over. “Hey, Tot, I have a question for you. Do you ever have any regrets in life?”

Tot looked at her as though she had just lost her mind. “Regrets? Me? Oh, other than having an alcoholic for a father and an insane woman for a mother, marrying James Whooten, the biggest fool on the earth, and breeding two mutants, then marrying another man who dropped dead on our honeymoon… no, why?”

Maybe we all need to start our own sunset clubs.

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