Ode to Broads, Gratitude for Girlfriends, Hats off to Grumpy Old Ladies

Recently, I had dinner with several friends. The food was peppered with attitude and laughter. It was a meal that left me warm on the inside long after we had parted and gone to our separate homes. I have shared many dinners with these ladies. Long ago, I dubbed us The Grumpy Old Ladies of Shuffletown.

First, let me make one thing clear…the GOLS are not grumpy or old. Well, they are only old if you are a reader under the age of forty. GOLS are usually women who are older than fifty enjoying their wisdom years.

GOLS have, in fact, reached an age where we are still independent and free– not locked up in a mauve-painted room wearing a straight jacket is proof aplenty that we have survived and surpassed. Most of us are past the travails of menopause; PMS is a choice; you see, we are Broads.

Let’s define the term, “Broads.” A broad is any female who is not a “chick.”

A broad is not a “tomato.” A broad is harder to push around that a younger woman. I do not consider the term, “Broad” derogative. It is an earned title.

A broad is a force to deal with. It is popular today to refer to the three ages of women as maiden, mother, and crone. Well, I prefer Broads to crones, but I find no offense in crone. It is just that the term “crone,” doesn’t sound like fun. A broad is a woman past the age of fifty enjoying her wisdom years; a broad is wise, stubborn, and has an attitude.

Dorothy L. Sayers was speaking to broads when she said, “Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.”

Broads are good neighbors, grandmothers, aunts, and friends; broads have faced hard winters and each one has a story.

Broads are fun. Broads are the girlfriends you meet along the way; the women who sit with you when life is hard and hold a lantern to light the way; they are women who giggle with you in irreverent places; ladies who wink at life. Broads are quilters who have stitched their bits and pieces of their lives together as required by circumstances, adjustments and reconstruction. Broads have hard earned wisdom.

These women are real; beautiful in many ways, but as you know the best people are often not golden and bright, nor perfect and unflawed. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, some of us are covered in rust and have broken nails.

Bette Davis was a broad. She knew the advantages of being a broad. She said: “If you want a thing done well, get a couple of old broads to do it.” All friendships are blessings. Friendships with broads are the spice of life.

The recent dinner with the GOLS reminded me of the importance of women companions. The GOLS are a pride of individuals who know the secrets of life. But we each only know one of life’s secrets. This is why we need many girl friends. A circle of friends provides a pool of wisdom to draw upon. Women gather in circles because there is always room for one more, always room for another viewpoint.

I am beginning this New Year in gratitude of the women foot soldiers I have met along my life’s journey. While Hollywood is handing out Golden Globe Awards and magazines are selecting people of the year for their covers, I would like to suggest that you take time to honor a broad. Take a broad to lunch.

In the spirit of Bette Davis, I am going to take time to honor several women I know who have a twinkle in their eye and a wink for the future with a Grand Old Broads Award.

My first award would go to Frances Haines who in her 90s is an artist and recently held an art showing that raised more than $3,000.00 for charity and still is very quotable. I recently heard her say, “I got my wings clipped. But I can still paint; I can still see; I can still hear; I’ve got my teeth; you just take what you have and do the best you can with it.”

I would like to honor Belle Banks. Belle is the gracious hostess of the antebellum mansion, Cedar Grove. She writes a weekly column for the Lake Norman Times. Belle recently gave her last public performance in the role of Mrs. Santa Claus. In her weekly column, she wrote, “We were two old dames who had a blast together.” Recently, I was a guest in Belle’s home and she is still having a blast. Sonia Morrison, who celebrated her 80th birthday and retired from her job so she could have more time to take more cruises and do more dancing.

There are so many other wonderful broads in my life and I am grateful for each one. I am so appreciative for the Grumpy Old Ladies of Shuffletown. They entered my life and blessed it with shared laughter.

Thank you to all the women who touch my life. Thank you for your spunk, kindness, patience and wisdom. Thank you for your enduring friendship and for sharing life as it passes.

Ma Joad said it best in John Steinbeck’s novel, Grapes of Wrath. She said: “Well, Pa, a woman can change better than a man. A man lives – well, in jerks. Baby’s born or somebody dies, and that’s a jerk. He gets a farm or loses it, and that is a jerk. With a woman, it’s all in one flow, like a stream – little eddies and waterfalls, but the river, it goes right on. Women look at it that way.”

Broads have experience with the river of life. Take a broad to lunch; sit back, learn, laugh and, most of all, enjoy.

— From Ferry Tales, a monthly column by Judy Rozzelle in the Mt. Island Monitor, Huntersville, NC

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