I call it The Passing of the Pillows.
Each member of the group arrives, surrenders her coat, greets and is greeted, accepts or refuses food and drink. She is ushered into the hostess’s family room where
upholstered chairs, sofas, loveseats, ottomans and side chairs abound. Pillows and cushions of every ilk are scattered about on the furniture.
Small, rectangular needlepointed pillows claim Grandmothers are Mothers with Ph.Ds. Hand-stitched crewel-embroidered pillows decorated with colorful entwined leaves and flowers are tucked here and there. Big smushy down pillows are propped against arm rests. Small, hard-packed pillows provide decorative accents in colors and patterns complementary to the room’s décor.
Each person chooses a place to sit.
Two members of the group prefer straight-backed chairs, which the hostess usually drags in from an adjoining room. Another likes comfy upholstered chairs with footstools. One member scrupulously avoids deep,
low-slung sofas. Two members have back problems. Another has a new left hip. One member has a left shoulder that has recently been replaced and a right
shoulder with a torn rotator cuff.
We all claim those run-of-the-mill varieties of chronic achy breaky physical ailments which change from week to week, season to season.
After each has selected a chair, The Passing of the Pillows begins. It’s similar to Hearts, the card game. In the game of Hearts, after all the cards are dealt, each player gets to pass his or her three worst cards to the player on the right. Only then can the actual game begin.
One member of my group needs a small puffy pillow to fill the curve of her lower back. Another needs a firm cushion and a straight-backed chair to keep her from slumping. Another needs a scrunchy, smooshy pillow and a footstool to pamper an ankle. Another brings her own special orthopedic cushion, a device that supports her back. Still another member of the group needs a soft pillow to prop up an arm.
The Passing of the Pillows takes about five minutes, tops. Once it has been completed, the actual meeting