All we really hoped for on this tenth anniversary of my "Lago Women, Etc." getaway to the coast was that everyone arrived safely. We knew, rain or shine, we'd have fun.
Well, the weekend far surpassed my expectations, to say the least!
Thanks to nine previous weekends like this, we have tons of unforgettable memories tucked away, but I have a feeling the ones we carried away from this weekend will be hard to top. What a way to commemorate ten years! Where to begin? Let's see...
Days 1 and 2 were fantastic: hanging out on the beach till sunset... catching the next morning's sunrise...watching a brief, beautiful storm decorate the horizon...jogging on the near-deserted beach, cooled by drizzly rain...and then spending the afternoon back out on the beach under clear skies and sunshine. After dinner in town that night, some headed back to the condo for a movie, but the rest of us headed to our traditional nightspot. Many weekends it's been as deserted as the beaches, and we have the DJ and dance floor to ourselves, but this weekend we didn't get to do a lot of dancing; it was a Barbecue Cook-off weekend featuring a concert by Stoney LaRue. I had never heard of him, but he was really good! As one of his fans, Robert, told us,"He's soulful! Just listen - you're gonna get goosebumps!" And he was right!
We thought that night was going to be the top memory...getting to see and listen to Stoney while experiencing the crazy diversity and drama of the crowd in Sharkey's (three not-quite-barfights, plus a sampling of every age, gender, sexual preference, race, occupation, economic level and personal style you can imagine.)
We were wrong...
Mid-afternoon on Day 3: The guy in the suit standing by the elevator tipped us off that something out-of-the-ordinary was happening, and the mysterious, identical SUVs in front of the condos, surrounded by more men in suits confirmed it. We imagined all kinds of crazy theories before the front desk clerk told one of us they were expecting a "distinguished visitor."
I'm really not a celebrity hound. Really. At least I didn't think I was. Now I'm not so sure. Just the idea that a Secret Service-entourage-level person was nearby made me loop my camera around my neck like the paparazzi and stake out potential sighting areas.
Forget about heading back to the beach. We hovered at the railing facing the parking lot, watching for clues or a glimpse of some VIP, trying to guess who it might be, until we realized whoever it was had managed to slip in without being seen.
Okay, I'll just fast forward through all of the tedious details of our stalking - the VIP was Laura Bush! Thanks to sharp eyes and fast elevators, we even managed to coincidentally "stroll" past her on the beach. And she said hi!
As I previously claimed (and subsequently proved myself wrong, I guess), I'm not normally a celebrity hound. I don't even think of her as a celebrity, but she is a woman I've always admired, and I have to admit it was really cool getting to see her up close. Witnessing the precautions that have to be taken just for her to spend some time on the beach with her friend made me treasure this weekend with my friends and the long beach walks we take for granted even more.
Other highlights of the weekend...the full moon...my seagull friend...joking around with the Secret Service agents and convincing them to be in some of our pictures...Lauren's homemade bruschetta, Darla's chicken lasagna, Cheryl's salsa and sticky buns, Nancy's pizza, Mary Kay's salads and pumpkin bread (I love traveling with cooks!)...tye-dye shirts by Conni...earrings and 10-year patches for our shirts by Mary Kay...goodie bags from Conni and Lauren...painted wine glasses by Nancy and the hardback 10-year commemorative book she put together for us...and of course, just getting to spend uninterrupted time with these wonderful women, meeting Cheryl's friend Darla and introducing all of them to my friend Donna and niece Christin. I love how the different circles of my life come together this way.
Whew...what a weekend. I can't wait till next year!
We agreed to keep our photos of Laura and our Secret Service friends private, but here are a few from other highlights of the weekend...