Senior women play ‘golf’ and reminisce
Thursday afternoons are something to look forward to for a group of senior women from Peabody; they all get together and play golf.
But there are no caddies or tees here, just a dining room table, a deck of cards, and plenty of laughs.
Last week the group gathered at the home of Judy Claassen, as it alternates each week.
“We play golf because we don’t have to think about it,” said Claassen. “We can talk while we play.”
The number of attendees depends on who can make it, ranging anywhere from six to eight. However, the women are particular about who they invite because they enjoy each other’s company so much.
“When someone wants to join, we vote,” said Judy. “We’re very selective.”
Starting around 1 p.m., they stop after the first game and pause for a snack before jumping back in for a second round. It’s not until the second game is completed around 5 p.m. that the deck of cards get put away.
The game moves smoothly and without hesitation. Exclamations of numbers along with lighthearted teases are frequent.
“Some people like to try to cheat but they don’t pull it off very well,” said Claassen with a smirk.
Among the jokes and heckling, are decades of friendship between the women.
They all graduated from Peabody High School, with only eight years separating the oldest from the youngest, sharing more than 50 years of friendship.
Most of the women have moved away at some point, but eventually came back to their hometown. As they’ve all gotten older and have more time, they’ve found playing cards serves as one of the highlights of their week.
Through a “cuss can,” a jar they had to deposit money in if they used a swear word, they even funded a day trip to Concordia.
“A couple of people started losing money, so they quit,” said Cora Bloomer, a frequent player. “That’s one good thing I guess, they quit cussing,” she said as the room filled with laughter.
Over their games of golf, they catch up with each other about family members and reminisce about the past.
While each of their life stories is unique, they all share a history that exhibits a strong work ethic.
Pat Hunnell, a regular card player, worked as a construction worker before driving dump trucks for her father as a living.
“I drove loaders and dozers,” she said. “I did it all.”
Esther Brooks, another card comrade, would come home as soon as school ended to milk cows.
“The day after I got married my dad sold the cows,” she said. “He kept those cows so I wouldn’t get in trouble.”
Claassen and Bloomer, too, had experience with cows and farm lives of their own.
“I baled hay on the farm, I helped butcher pigs and chickens, I did whatever I had to do in order to keep our farm going,” Bloomer said.
“We did what we had to do,” Claassen said. “All of us did.”
The women also discuss current events, and how the world has changed so drastically through their eyes.
All agree that something that a certain character trait seemingly in short supply might improve a lot of problems.
“We need more respect in general, for people and things,” Claassen said. “When we were kids, we did ornery things, but we never did anything hateful or destructive.”
Bloomer agreed, noting another sign of respect that she feels isn’t as common as it once was.
“People used to hold open the door,” she said. “I’ve had the door slam right in my face.”
Claassen noted technology as another factor that has made today’s world so different, and added that not all the differences she’s witnessed are negative.
“There’s some good things and some bad things that came along with cell phones and computers,” she said. “But I also would never want to go back to scrubbing clothes on a washboard.”
They incorporate important components from their past as they brainstorm about what they believe to be today’s problems.
While a lot may have changed, one thing remains constant through their Thursday afternoon golf games.
“See, there you go dealing me an ugly card again Judy,” said Bloomer.