‘What happens at the lake stays at the lake.’ It was on a sign on the back porch. We decided we would abide by that rule. Well, I had too much fun. I have to tell. But I’ll tell on myself, keeping the others safe from ridicule!
Five besties from high school planned to meet at one friend’s lake house…decades after graduation. Some of us had not seen each other in many, many years. We are living in four different states, but thanks to the invention of Facebook we’ve all reconnected in recent years.
Due to a multi-vehicle accident on the interstate I missed the window of opportunity to check my bag at the Atlanta airport. The TSA had to inspect every nook and cranny of my suitcase and confiscate my too-large bottle of sunscreen. I’m certain that I fit the perfect profile of a terrorist…..middle aged, white, blond-haired woman. As a result I missed my flight by 2 seconds. I heard the door to the jetway slam as I rounded the corner to my gate. Of course no amount of crying and begging helped. I got put on a stand-by list and then sat down and cried like a baby.
Little did I know that was just beginning of my dramatic comedy. The first day out on the party boat I tentatively got out in the water wearing a bright orange life vest. I’m not a strong swimmer, so I don’t get in a lake without one. When it came time to get back in the boat I couldn’t do it. I pulled myself up, but lost my footing on the broken ladder, grabbed the door frame, greased with suntan oil, which swung open out toward the water and I was flung back into the lake.
My friends, after they knew I was OK, laughed and laughed. I asked them to push me into the boat. I got my feet way up on the ladder in a position that couldn’t be good for my back in which I have a herniated lumbar disc, and hoisted myself as far as I could go. It was as if I weighed 300 lbs. I had no upper body strength; so much for lifting weights. Little good it did me. I yelled at the women, all of whom were in the water behind me. “Push my butt!” Someone was pushing my left cheek. I couldn’t move my right leg up to the next step. I screamed, “someone push my right cheek! My right cheek!” “I can’t,” was the response. I knew that if someone didn’t I would be suspended in what felt like an alternate universe. Finally someone got her hand on my right buttocks and heaved. I was able to lift my right leg onto the next step and pull myself into the boat. We cried laughing. We hee-hawed. We screamed out laughing. We couldn’t stop.
Later that day, the five of us decided to walk off some of the food we’d been eating. One woman and I were way ahead of the others. But, our friend who owned the house was in the second group; she’s the only one who knew her way around. We kept looking back and getting directions from her. Eventually we got so far ahead we couldn’t see the other group. We stopped and waited for the three. We waited and waited and waited. They never came. We walked and walked and walked. We walked in circles. We kept seeing the same things….a trailer with a big D on it, a mailbox that looked like a giant carp, a pit bull. Finally we came upon a corner house with beautiful tan stone. We had all talked about it at the beginning of the walk. My friend stopped and said slowly, ‘I-feel-like-we’re-on-her-street.’ I walked back a couple of houses and noticed two of our friend’s cars in the driveway. We had walked right past the house.
I said, “OK, no one needs to know about this.” My friend, still laughing so hard she could barely speak, said “it’s too funny not to tell!” We walked through the open garage door and into the kitchen. The three were preparing dinner and looking out the front window. As it turned out, our buds had watched us walk by the house twice already. Humph. With friends like that who needs enemies, right? Seriously, again we laughed until we cried.
The last evening we were together we were sitting on the back porch. I mentioned I’d never had a pair of real cowboy boots. My pals, thinking that was unacceptable for a native Texan, insisted we go into town and buy boots. We headed to a western store with boots galore. I found a pair of red boots that fit great, felt comfortable, and were 50% off. I bought them. Then we all put on boots and hats and got our picture made.
If I were going to wear the boots home the next day I needed something to wear with them. Shopping in the small town on a Saturday night was limited. We headed to Walmart. I selected some raggedy cut-off jean shorts and a pair of leggings. When I got to the register I realized I didn’t have my purse with me. I panicked. I rushed back to the ladies’ clothing remembering vividly that I’d put my purse on the floor. I couldn’t find it. I had someone call security and two friends checked with the service desk. I was convinced that someone had seen me put it on the floor and had stolen it.
There were five of us and another half dozen Walmart employees searching. It was nowhere to be found. I was sick with worry. The purse held $150 in cash, a $50 VISA gift card, two credit cards, a debit card, and my driver’s license. I had no idea how I was going to get on the plane the next day.
Finally, the two friends that had gone to the service desk showed up. They had my purse. I thanked God for the answered prayer. My purse was found……I’d left it in the car.
My buddies and I had lots and lots of good laughs. What happened at the lake didn’t stay there. I’m glad. The events of the weekend were too good to leave there. One friend read a poem to us late the last evening,
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
I will carry my friends and the events of that weekend in my heart always.
PS There was no alcohol involved in these events. Just my goofiness. 😉