When I looked up the definition of “retreat”, the dictionary made reference to withdrawing to a quiet and secluded spot. Being just a few steps beyond normal, the Just Us Girls Sisterhood’s annual Christmas gathering might not fall under that description. The year we went to Disney World was neither quiet or secluded, and now, in our state park cabin, we’ve nailed the secluded bit but we will never be quiet. Ever. Even when we sleep, there are enough ear shattering snores that ear plugs are worn by the more delicate sleepers.
It’s hard to describe what this annual gathering of like-minded women means to me. We have over fifty-four years of friendship so we relive many memories. They each help me put pieces of my memories back with the right stories. We laugh till we cry over the joy of our shared lives. Once in awhile, we cry over hard times, over family loss, over carelessly made comments that are hurtful. We’ve cried over songs, movies, and lost chances. We cry until the sad is purged and someone makes us laugh again. We celebrate our wonderful children and we talk about the dreams we still have for ourselves. I always leave knowing that I’m okay. I am a good enough mother, I try to be a good friend and neighbor, and I am a good enough person. It helps to know, even when we have doubts, we really are okay.
No gathering of the JUGS would be complete without good food. We had omelets, quiche, shrimp fried rice, chicken salad, and a tomato torte that was to die for. There were chips with dip, candy, and cookies. Ah, wonderful cookies are my personal weakness and I made a pig of myself. Sugar is not my friend but some things are worth suffering for.