My girls' annual weekend getaway has come and gone, and I must tell you, being of a certain age places an undue burden on us. We design to share rooms as long as the bed configurations are sufficient. This means, single or double beds apiece, and on the rarest of occasions, a couple of us might share a king.
But really, given our druthers, we would each have a bed, a bath and a room of our own. It is hard to come by since there are so many of us, so we work to make do. We manage quite well, as it turns out, each of us having a preferred roomie, and we don't fight over who gets the biggest room with the best bath. We are models of courtesy and generosity and we only pout for a little bit when we don't get our way.
We act all organized and send out copious emails about food and arrival times and links that include the code to the gate, check-in times, and so on. Soon there is a stack of undecipherable "reply all" messages, and no one can remember who said what about anything. Someone gets superior and emails, "I sent that information in an email two weeks ago … " and then we all scurry to find it, only to discover it came as a text and was sent five days ago -- which must then be called to everyone's attention.
This leads to even more complex communications -- texts about emails, emails about emails, texts about phone calls … it just never gets old, this confusing, frustrating and convoluted checking in with each other.
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Somehow, we manage to arrive about the same time, and we spend a happy hour or so unloading the cars, disgorging coolers and cooking pots and bags and canvas totes of junk food, fancy crackers, cheeses, dips, drinks, breakfast casseroles, fruit, whole watermelons, homemade cookies, breads and coffee, appetizers and raw veggies, coffees and tea, other fine potables. All this for less than three days of isolation in the woods.
Which aren't even woods.
And at least two evenings we plan to eat out.
Because we can, you know, since, again, we are not really in the woods.
This year we rented a house on Lake Cumberland, in Nancy, Kentucky. We traveled down narrow lanes, past Civil War battlefields and cemeteries, rolling through a landscape that would not be out of place in the Midlands of England.
We stayed up late laughing, but mostly talking about our immunizations and shingles shots, the Hep A and MMR booster, our statins and steps -- some of us were quite dedicated to our steps -- and after an evening of categorizing our ailments and health concerns, we decided we should all go … boating.
And why ever not? All of us had seen boats, a few had even been on one -- what could go wrong? I was against it from the very beginning, had vowed I wasn't getting on a boat with any one of them at the helm but would stay safely on shore so that I might point emergency services in their direction.
Maybe it was the sugar high, maybe it was the fear of missing out, maybe it was the fact that we rented a pontoon which even I could out-swim. Whatever it was, I tagged along and enjoyed it immensely. It was fun even when the young turks in their fast boats pegged us for exactly what we were and created awful wakes to toss us about like the USS Minnow. On purpose.
Some of the water babies among us swam a little when we stopped in a quiet spot. We stopped again to watch three fit young men scramble up a cliffside looming over the lake, as a drone hovered around and above them, photographing the whole thing.
You could see them sitting all loose and cool a good 30 feet or more up the cliff. They shook their arms as they stood up, more a nervous gesture than one of preparation, I think.
Then, catching the afternoon sun, they jumped to the cheers of their girlfriends waiting on their boat below. If they had been listening, they might have heard another cheer go up from another boat, a little way off, one overflowing with women of a certain age who still remember warm summer, and lakes, and beautiful boys showing off, just for them.
Greta McDonough is professor of human services at Owensboro Community & Technical College and author of the book, "Her Troublesome Boys: The Lucy Furman Story." Her column runs each Wednesday in Community. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.