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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

my band of gypsies--part two...

If y’all have been with us for a while, you might remember my post entitled: My Band of Gypsies. March 15, 2017. (Still can't link. Just go down to March of 2017 and click on this post to read!) There were six of us Friends from College who’d gone to see The One, THE ONLY, Willie! in Belton, Texas, the weekend before. TLC had helped me post a picture of us. Courtesy of the cute young(er) couple sitting in front of us that became My Best Friends.

I can’t remember if I mentioned, in that post, the original “ College Reunion” that had initiated the idea for this trip. Let me quickly rehash:

In July of 2016, My Precious Friend, Lizzie, held said Reunion for eight of us (nine, counting herself) at her casa in Georgetown, Texas. It was beyond memorable. Many of us had not seen each other in years. And YEARS. Yet, there we were, picking up like it’d been only a few months. We’d met over 40 years ago (really about 44!) at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. Those days and times? Priceless. Hysterical. Heartbreaking. Incredible. VALUABLE. Life-changing.

We promised each other, at Lizzie’s, we were positively, absolutely making this Reunion an annual tradition.

Then Willie happened. Which was really only a few months later and an extra gift of time for the six of us who could work it out and go.

After Willie, we were to meet at Mitchie’s lake house last July. Due to circumstances beyond her control—and, actually, many of us were going to have to decline the get-together—it didn’t take place. So it was rescheduled to this past weekend!

And…drumroll…IT HAPPENED!

Of course, I have no pictures to prove that. (Not one. Not one stinkin’ picture. Pathetic. Simply TERRIBLE.) What is the matter with us? Yes. We is a bit old. Ish. But we ALL have smart phones/iPhones/Androids with fantastic cameras. We’re all checking those phones hourly. We couldn’t remember to take pictures? Sheesh.

As my life would dictate, I couldn’t go for the first night of shenanigans—which was Friday. Dearest Friend, Lottie, had let us all know, earlier in the week, she wasn’t going to be able to join us at all. She’s our Austin Sister and she had unavoidable commitments. (We missed her. Greatly.) M.C. was a Big-Time Go—until her Boss threw some work at her Friday morning that HAD to get done. By Monday. She was QUITE The Angry Woman. We were TREMENDOUSLY sad and disappointed. Jobs and civic duties are important so we had to buck up and promise Lottie and M.C. we’d get together again ASAP. (Someone has made a voodoo doll that looks like M.C.'s Boss. In case we need it in the future.)

I wasn’t really certain I could spend Saturday night. Thought I really needed to head home early that evening. Long-ish story. It’s about 2 ½ hours from our country casa. But because I’m such a smart cookie, I packed my jammies and a toothbrush in my car before I headed East early that morning. Prepared to stay. If possible. OR necessary. Since the Dallas/Ft. Worth Weather Peeps were vague about how bad the weather was going to be—I decided it’d be prudent to be prepared. They talked ice. COLD. Sleet. SUPER COLD. Possibly Saturday night? Sunday morning? (Why don’t we all want to be weather peeps on TV? You never have to be right. And you make pretty dadgum good money. I’m wondering if that job is too late for moi.) No matter what or when—the bad stuff SHOULD be gone by noon on Sunday. They practically promised.

When I got about an hour away from our home, I stopped for petrol (I’m feeling the need to channel my British Nana). Icy sleet started happening. Right there on my windshield. I filled my tank—got into my SUV—and called My Sweet Husband (MSH) as I continued to sit by the gas pump. Here’s exactly what I said:

“Why? WHY IS IT SLEETING NOW? I thought those useless weather experts said it’d be tonight? Early tomorrow morning? WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?”

MSH tried to talk. Tried to answer my questions. I wouldn't/couldn't be interrupted.

“I get to do nothing. NOTHING FOR MYSELF. JUST ME. I’ve looked forward to this weekend for at least nine months. MAYBE TEN. Why is this happening? I’m so afraid to drive in this. What should I do? WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

Then the sleet—miraculously—stopped and MSH replied—in his most patient husband voice:

“Go. Go have fun. You have a bag with you. Stay. Stay until any ice leaves tomorrow. Come back Monday! Just go.”

All I needed. Off I drove. Confident I'd make it and all would be well.

And was it ever FUN. I mean major. MAJOR. If I could type something that would be bigger than MAJOR I would. I don’t know what that would be. General, I guess? It was FIVE-STAR GENERAL FUN.

First, Mitchie’s lake house is on Cedar Creek Lake. Near Dallas. It’s quite the large, impressive lake. As I drove up to her charming home, I felt immediate peace. I’m not kidding. P.E.A.C.E. The drive had been super easy—once the evil sleet stopped. It was interstate a lot of the way for me. Decent highways the rest.

The home she and her husband own is in a great neighborhood. I sent a text that I was there and could I park across the street in a driveway of a home that had a sign that said “For Rent?” Mitchie said yes and then came right outside to greet me. Helped me bring in my contributions of Fiji water, Coke Zeroes and some Valentine “treats” for everyone. Mitchie cooked. Food-Network-worthy meals. Others contributed YUMMO food. Sparky baked for us. Drew brought healthy veggies and fruit. Wine was aplenty. As were various diet drinks. Perfect for a bunch of Oldies-But-Goodies like us.

When I walked in to the house behind Mitchie, the first thing I saw were My Sweet Buddies sitting in her great room. Smiling. Looking happy. Relaxed! Behind them was a wall of glass with the most amazing, serene, exquisite picture of Mitchie’s dock overlooking the expansive, splendid lake! I felt like we were in a movie. Maybe one that no one else was going to ever watch…nevertheless WE were going to watch it. Over and over. And over. In our Senior Citizens' minds.

I had a lot to catch up on. I got all comfy on the couch next to Lizzie. She’d spent the night before but was going to be leaving mid-afternoon. We all laughed. A LOT. We shared. We bitched. We sympathized. We LAUGHED some more. As if we’d been together the weekend before. At this very lovely place. Picking up right where we’d left off.

My Sweet College Sisters—Mitchie, Drew, Sparky, Rosie, P.J., Lizzie (PLUS M.C. and Lottie, too)—can be described, individually, and as a group, like this:

They are smart, wise, FUNNY, silly, cRaZy, clever, worldly, loyal, kind, generous and SWEET. Good people. Each is brimming with physical beauty—and not a one would probably ever let themselves believe that. Or, actually, at this point in their lives, not a one would actually care what anyone thought of them. (Yep. That’s where we happen to be. Not terribly concerned with what you think of us. No offense, though. Truly. Just the way it is.) They’re educators, business women, wives, moms, grandmoms, daughters, sisters, and friends. My Friends. I love them all. More and more every minute we’re lucky enough to be together. And every second we’re apart.

Although I only got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep Saturday night/Sunday morn, it was GOOD sleep. Deep. Nice. I don't get a lot of that kind of sleep every night any more.

 The weather got iffy for all of us Sunday morn. We had lots of coffee,  Sparky’s FANTASTIC banana bread and her delicious sausage balls. Took a few more walks down Memory Lane. Then Mitchie went to church. (To pray for us all. Surely.Winky. Wink.) Sparky and Rosie headed South. P.J. and Drew followed me out of the subdivision and we headed North and West. I’d lose them. Catch up. Lose them, again. (We got stuck three different times on Interstate 20—due to wrecks caused by an ice event that happened a couple of hours before we’d left Mitchie’s house. Twice we ended up side-by-side. That could never, ever happen again. Not in a million years.)

When I got home, I was exhausted. It was THE BEST exhaustion. I slept off and on for hours on our couch. Got in bed at 10:30 and never moved until 6:00 o'clock Monday morn.

Here’s My Wish:

That TLC, Little Leighton and Baby Elle (and each of My College Sisters’ daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces, friends) all have Sister Friends that mean as much to them as these girls mean to me. That they get to see their friends much more than we’ve been able to. That their times together fill them with sheer and utter JOY. Family is, of course, so important. But friends? They’re the families we choose for ourselves. Somehow, with God's Grace and great luck, I chose some MAGNIFICENT Sister Friends. I consider myself blessed by God each and every day I live having these dear, incredible women in my life.

(And Thank You, Lord God, for Facebook and Messenger. Texting. Emails. As much as I sometimes despise every one of these, they allow me to keep in contact with these wonderful women. THANK YOU. Again and again.)

Cheers! To Sisters! To Friends! To Sister Friends!

Ciao for Now, Y’all…

p.s.: Tuesdays with TLC will return next week! She's battling illness. Her Princesses are batting illness. It's not a lot of fun at her casa.

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