Thanksgiving week in Eleuthera this year was marked for many of us by the gathering of friends of dear Joy Pyfrom to celebrate her life, to come together for a Sunday lunch party and talk about her life and reminisce….. It was hosted by a good friend of hers Davida Carvin and her friend Mary Schwanke at Davida’s house in Palmetto Point. There were plenty of people there who had known Joy for many years.
Everybody bought a food dish to share and there was a lovely spread of food. A rainfall meant that we all gathered in the house instead of outside – but actually this meant that we were much more together in one room which was a lovely opportunity to share feelings and stories about Joy.
Joy was a consummate hostess in her earlier years and I loved hearing about some of the more unusual aspects of her entertaining ! Like the all female vodka parties !! Ladies in the know would buy a bottle of vodka a month before the party and infuse it with a particular local fruit – sea grapes, guineps, watermelon, coco plums or whatever was available. Then of course there followed a great party with much laughter and jollity – eat your heart out Absolut ! Apparently Joy had a vast selection of party glassware and this was a great reason to bring it all out ……
Also there were the High Tea Parties which became a fundraiser for the Haynes Library – again ladies only. Hats and gloves were obligatory and these were teetotal affairs. Davida herself hosted several of the tea parties in her home – tea and cakes were the main staple of the affair…..
People told their stories about Joy – one of my absolute favorites was told by her good friend Amanda – she recounted how Joy had told her that in all her years in Eleuthera she had never visited Ronnies – the bar on Cupid’s Cay. So Amanda took her there, they drank a glass of wine and were generally feted and treated very well. This was a year ago !!!! A photo was taken by the owners – Mo and Shafi – I must check out whether it is still on the wall !
Christmas morning parties were also a big tradition for Joy – held at their home on the hill they started around 50 years ago when her 2 sons were small…. In their heyday up to a hundred people would gather there to drink Pina Coladas – made to a recipe by Charles and Mamie ( sadly nobody remembered their second name – that’s when we really needed you Joy ! ) who used to manage the house Spanish Main … These last few years apparently only around 25 people – still a great number in my book – would celebrate on Christmas morning …..
Talking about friends and family who have died is a very important way to keep their memory alive. Bob and I had a great friend – Michael Mac – back in England who died 3 years ago. We visited him several months before he died. He said to us that he wanted people to still talk about him after he was gone – and we do Michael – we do – and write about you as well. He used to do a great impersonation of Bob and every time I catch Bob doing one of the things that was part of Michael’s impersonation we laugh and talk about him.
So during this Thanksgiving week – give thanks for those people who are still around in your lives – but also and very importantly – give thanks for those who are not. Laugh and cry at the memories that you have of them, speak their names and tell their stories – it’s what we all want I think for ourselves so do it for them and then hopefully friends and family will do it for you in the future….
To dear Joy and dear Michael – living on in our shared memories and still making us laugh …..
Click on Joy’s name at the end to read a blog I wrote in 2014 with plenty of references to Joy Pyfrom
Finally – wishing my dear sister Jane in England a very Happy Birthday XXXX
And Happy Thanksgiving as well…….