You know those uncommon occasions when a crazy mish-mash of plans--involving complicated components like...traveling across state lines, 300 miles each way...communicating with an expansive cast of characters from various time periods and aspects of my life..setting up events in multiple locations...and squishing it all into 3 days--somehow, astoundingly comes together? Yeah, I just had a weekend like that.
The whole shebang got off the ground thanks to a Mom Friend--one of the original 8 who made up Derek's playgroup way back when the kids were infants. She contacted the gang to propose a surprise reunion, in support of another member who's going through a tough medical situation right now. Well, once the Wisconsin and Georgia contingents had committed, I knew there was no way I was going to let the villainous highway (that would be Route 95...specifically in Virginia...Fredericksburg, to be even more exact...or as it shall be known, the Pit of Despair) keep me from joining them.
After that was penciled in, I made it my mission to arrange a way to spend each breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a different group of people I wanted to see. When the dust settled, here's how it all went down:
Friday: leave Chapel Hill by 9:30 a.m. and drive like the proverbial bat out of you-know-where to try and beat that most dreaded of phenomena...Rush Hour in D.C. Once I was almost all the way to my dad's house, I stopped at Sugarloaf Mountain to meander through the woods for a while before finishing my trek. Then it was time for Pizza Night (a beloved tradition that began when I was in 10th grade, and needed quick sustenance between arriving home from field hockey practice and racing back to school to watch the varsity football game). After that, my sister, my niece and I headed out to the theater for a girls' movie date, watching the entirely entertaining Cinderella.
Saturday: return to the old hometown to meet up with an interpreter buddy from my former job. There was coffee, there was catching up and sharing news...it was lovely. From there I joined the Playgroup-Without-Kids for an emotional and awesome 5-hour lunch. Seriously, it's been a looooong time since we've been together....and some of us haven't seen each other in years...but it felt to me like no time had passed at all. Well....except for the fact that our eldest "babies" are now 15-year old 9th graders, of course! At one point the friend who had summoned us all laughed and noted, "Back in the day, it was all 'I'm not sure if my baby is nursing the right way'....and now we're picking each other's brains about stuff like Internet security and peer pressure!" And once again we marveled at how blessedly rare and special our circumstances are: a gaggle of women...basically thrown together randomly because our kids were all born at about the same time...who all like each other and get along like gangbusters. Can you get luckier than that? I think not...
But wait, we're still not done with Saturday yet. After the mommy bonding broke up, I motored northward towards my next engagement: dinner with some more dear friends in downtown Frederick. We were dining at a farm-to-table restaurant. (I know, right? Do these people know me or WHAT? And by the way, why not have one more social item on my agenda that revolves around a meal? Okay, in my defense, I took a brief detour on the way, in order to squeeze in a walk...scoffing at the 30*, with 20 mph winds...or shivering uncontrollably...whatever...) So, a girl's gotta eat...might as well be a delicious portabella mushroom sandwich with some kind of fancy garlic mayonnaise and pesto...and a tart-cherry flavored ale, yeah? Some more yakkity yakking...a little NCAA basketball on TV...and it was time for a snooze-o-rama.
Which brings us to Sunday: one more coffee date before I blew the (almost literal--dang, it was frigid!)) Maryland popsicle stand. This one involved a college pal...to go along with the caffeine and conversation. After sharing the full scoop, if you will, on our respective families, we said "so long until Summer" and went our separate ways. For me, this meant crossing my fingers and imploring the Gods of the Open Road for my southbound path through the state-beginning-with-V to be a model of smooth sailing...rather than a parking lot. Thus it transpired that I made my way home...Big Gulp in hand, new memories saved, stories filed away to retell to Team WestEnders upon my return. It was the kind of getaway--where everything goes darn near perfectly--that only happens once in a long while. And I'm sure I'll appreciate it even more after I have a chance to rest and recover from the whirlwind!