Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - January 19, 2018
“You guys are my sisters”
After weeks of discussion, the stars aligned. Six of us “gal pals” met at friend Linda’s home for an overnighter. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve attended a slumber party.
On Jan. 2, I wrote them:
Hi, gal pals!
I’ve been going through my old “Kansas Snapshots” columns/blogs ... and I got to this one about our gal pal get-together in 2003. Thought you might get a kick out of it.
Love you all! Happy 2018!
While there was no gift exchange this year since it was after Christmas, the opening of that column set the tone rather well for this year.
Toasting and roasting friends
The holidays are all about tradition, and last Saturday was one of my favorites - the annual Christmas breakfast with my gal pals from campus.
The six of us squeezed into a booth, caught up on family news, joked with our waitress and exchanged gifts - candles, ornaments, jam and teacups filled with candy.
“It’s probably a good thing my son isn't here,” said one of my friends, whose son often works at the restaurant. “We’re the kind of group he hates - the ones who sit down, eat and then stay forever.”
And we did stay for awhile. After we ate, one friend said she wanted to make a toast. We lifted our glasses and coffee mugs, and she told us how much she appreciates us and how important it is to get together each year. When she finished, we all wiped away tears ...
We’re now 14 years older, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it from the emails that followed:
Ann: “I have a new Scrabble board and am looking for players. I will bring that and some nail polish so some lucky person
(ha) can polish my toenails.”
Me: “LOL! I love Scrabble! Not so sure about the nail painting though!”
Pat: “I have a fun game called 5-Second Rule, I am borrowing Sequence another fun game ... Do you want us to bring snacks or treats or drinks? Looking forward.”
Jackie: “I need to warn you guys I go to bed pretty early. I am not a night owl like Pat! Also, I have to be in Salina by 9 am so I’m probably out on breakfast. I’m planning to bring some LaCroix and a cream cheese and pepper jelly dip ... What time were we starting? 6:30?”
Linda: “Yum. Maybe we should start sooner. Whatcha think?”
Most of us have known each other for 30-odd years and we’ve seen each other at our best and worst. We’ve laughed together, cried together, celebrated our successes and good news, rolled our eyes at each other’s quirks, and supported one another during tough times. Earlier in the week, I told sister Gaila about our upcoming slumber party. She replied: “Women friends are essential in life!”
I was the first to arrive Friday, my pillow, blanket and snacks in hand. Linda gave me a big hug and said I should take off my boots and get comfortable. She brought out a selection of “cabin socks,” so I chose fuzzy pink and gray ones, slipping them over my knee-highs.
After putting my coat, scarf and mittens in the closet and dropping my pillow and blanket in the bedroom, I joined her in the kitchen, where she was preparing chili and potato soup. A welcoming fire blazed in the fireplace.
I helped with biscuits and arranged chips and dips in bowls and trays.
Soon, Jackie, then Ann, then newcomer Lindsey arrived. Linda worried Lindsey, 36, might feel out of place with us 50-, 60- and 70-somethings, but she assured us she wouldn’t.
At 6:30, we started eating. In addition to the soups, we had cheese, celery, Brussels sprouts and blueberries. For dessert, there were chocolate chip and carrot cake cookies.
Pat arrived later. We often joke that Pat knows everyone in town, so we presumed she was delayed because she met someone while on her way.
After eating, it was game time. We started with “Connect,” but we never really figured out how to play it. Linda explained one person thought about a word that began with a particular letter and then two other players were supposed to “connect” by counting down from 10 to one and then shouting out a word they thought the first person was thinking of. We didn’t get very far. Linda said she was thinking of an “S” word. Pat blurted out the one President Trump had allegedly used the day before to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. Gales of laughter followed.
We switched to “5-Second Rule” and then “The Cat Game,” but we were more into laughing than playing.
Linda announced it was time for anyone interested to get into the hot tub. Only she and Jackie braved the single-digit temperatures on her snow-covered deck. The rest of us shuddered at the thought, but the two of them seemed to relish it.
We started the British movie, “Calendar Girls,” but there was something wrong with the television volume control. We eventually got it high enough to hear the dialogue if we listened really hard. It was a fitting choice as it celebrates the importance of women friends through good times and bad.
The movie ended shortly after 1 a.m. and we dispersed to brush our teeth and go to bed.
The next morning, we drank enormous amounts of coffee and started putting together a 550-piece puzzle of the Taj Mahal. We didn’t get very far before Jackie left to meet her sisters and Ann went to a meeting.
But Gaila’s comment came back to me when Ann, who has two brothers, said she envied Jackie her relationship with her sisters. Then Ann paused and added, “You guys are my sisters.”
"Sisters" (l-r) Gloria, Ann, Linda, Pat, Jackie, and Lindsey.