Sunday, June 8, 2008

I Heart My Friends

Many years ago, way back in 1996, six girls rode in a minivan on their first road trip together. They were freshmen and sophomores in college; they had met only a few months ago when they each joined the Carolina rowing team. There were many reasons they had become friends. They rowed together, ran together, went to parties together. They danced and played and whispered and hugged and watched Titanic 50 million times. They shared books and ideas and the common cold. They ate every meal together, more or less, and spent hours of their lives laughing at fart jokes and bad puns. On that first road trip along the sunny highways of North Carolina, they sang along to the Indigo Girls and fought over the map. And then in a quiet moment, one of those girls said, "Hey, you know, we're more than friends. You all are like my family." It was true, and so, laughing all the while, we divvied up the family roles amongst ourselves. I was the big sister (what a shocker). H-SPO was our dad, LJA the mother, Pony the baby, NaeRae was the absent-minded middle kid. Ski-lo was the red-headed stepchild. You'd have to know her to think that was funny, but trust me. It's funny.

As the years drifted by we've all gone our separate ways. Geographically, we're about as widely dispersed as it's possible for human beings to be and still be in the United States (Alaska, Oregon, California, New York, North Carolina, and Texas), and with that geographic separation we've developed new friend groups, new lives. But every two years (at least) we all gather somewhere to hang out for a few days, just us, and regroup. We eat, we drink (oh, do we drink), we play outside, we laugh at fart jokes and bad puns. I love these girls.

We're in Bend, Oregon right now, soaking up the sunshine and warmth -- er, make that the FREEZING COLD -- and basking in the reflective glow of a group of women who'd do anything for the others.  The only one who couldn't make it was LJA, and here's a little shout-out for you, my dear. We miss you and wish you were with us. We've been biking and hiking and sledding, and we even went exploring an ice cave in the mountains.  As I type this on the couch in a borrowed sweatshirt and fuzzy socks, the sounds of cooking and quiet laughter come from the kitchen as the girls cook breakfast. Pony's coming over with the pot of coffee to fill me up again. We're having a blast, and I want it never to end.  

I've taken more wonderful pictures than I know what to do with and I'll post those on my flickr page in a day or two, but here's a little sampling.

At the top of the sledding mountain, all the goils.

NaeRae and Pony. Two more beautiful women, inside and out, never lived.


Click to make bigger and look at everybody's faces.

Deep in the Lava Ice Cave, a mile under ground.


Alison said...

Yay for girlfriends!

Judita said...

I'm happy to read you're having a great time, Cheasty!

Sam Marie said...

hola!! glad that you're having mucho mucho fun with muy muy fantastic people. everyone looks super happy and with good reason... since we all know that we weren't ever *really* "part of the problem", but really part of the precipitate! please say hello to everyone for me and give each an extra hug!! see you soon -

Lindsey said...

I'm totally doing a "my group of girls" tag. How bad does Pacific Northwest weather SUUUUCCCKKK? (I'm near Spokane.)

Erin said...

seriously though, you guys look unreal. and almost like it is impossible for you to get all such good pictures of everyone where everyone looks good at the same time?! and that DOG! ROCKS! i also heart that dog. say hi to everyone for me - i'm so happy for you guys to be having such a fun time. you sure earned it! love, e

Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

oh cheasty, i'm so happy for you! just caught up on everything. you kick some serious ass. and you make me feel horrible for not being better at planning shit like this... or keeping in touch with my ladies like i should. our friends from childhood are the ones we should keep.