I mentioned on Friday that I was going on a (for me) Girls “half-a-weekend”. For my friends Carol, Michelle and Debra it was a full weekend, but I came home early to watch Brittany play in her championship basketball game. She didn’t win, but as we told her…at least her team made it to the big game. I’m still trying to convince her dad (the assistant coach) of that though as I think he took the loss harder than she did. Anyway…it’s a trip I take each year with 3 of my very, very dear friends.
They are friends from Baylor and it would take me literally months of posts to explain to you all the ways we are connected. I always think it’s easier just to say we were college roommates although I never lived with any of them. (I do however wish that I had because Carol and Debra….I kid you not….made meatloaf in college. Yep, and homemade pies and stuff. I was over in my apartment having ramen noodles and they were actually using multiple ingredients and turning on the oven. I thought it was VERY impressive.)
Michelle was the one who introduced me to Bill. We say that we met in the back seat of a car but it’s not as racy as it sounds. Michelle was giving me a ride to church because I didn’t have a car. And when I got in the car, there was Bill. Michelle and I bonded our freshman year when we had a painfully boring English class together. To stay awake, we counted how many times our teacher said “uhm” during the hour and then compared notes after class. She is now the Julia Child of the bunch. Each year she brings us a culinary treat that seems to top the one from the year before. (This year it was all about her new panini maker. I’ll post a few recipes from the weekend once they send them to me…which may take a few days seeing as how they were not happy that I left early.)
Debra is the researcher of the group. I swear she knows more stuff about more things. She is super techno-literate. This year she even brought her brand spanking new…she took it right out of the box … Mac computer … and gave herself lessons while we visited. She kept asking me how to do things (since I’ve had my Mac now for over 6 months) and every time I had to say…“you’ll need to ask Caroline.” She has taught me phrases about computers like “migrating the data” which I just like to throw around in conversations to make people think I know a lot of stuff about computers. Really it’s just that I know Debra…and as I said, she just knows a lot about everything. Some of my favorite and most hilarious memories are with Debra and her husband Mark. We once traveled to New York City during the Christmas season. It was very, very fun even though Mark was sick and felt so bad he kept announcing to anyone who would listen….“My coat is SO heavy.” We still laugh about it. They lived just across the parking lot from us when we got married and so we often partook of Debra’s infamous hospitality. Looking back, those were probably some of the best meals Bill had in those days.
Carol is the organizer of the group. She actually helped me make the first meal I ever made for Bill. (And truth be told, I didn’t really make it…Carol made it and then left out the back door when Bill showed up. Carol was shocked to find - when she asked me for a knife to cut the chicken - that the only knife we had in our entire apartment was a regular ole knife that you would use to set the table. But we didn’t cook…so it wasn’t a problem for us. This example is one of the many that Bill cites in his “Darla totally misrepresented herself when we were dating” conversations - but I digress. Carol is a planner and probably accomplishes more in a morning than I do in an entire week. I’m not kidding. This year she and her husband were in the midst of buying a house while we were at Hilltop. A house that she had secured a loan for, made up flyers to help sell hers, printed out loads of contract information and filled them out…I mean seriously, she could teach the Energizer Bunny a thing or two.
We’re actually all very different but have so many threads of the same in us. I seriously LOVE these girls and look forward to any time I get to spend with them.
Michelle’s parents graciously let us use their home in Hilltop Lakes Resort each year. It’s about half way in between Dallas and Houston and since I’m coming from Houston and they are all coming from Dallas it works great! In honor of our trips location, we named ourselves the “Hilltop Honeys.” Sometimes I think that house should go on the list of national registered historic landmarks because it has so many memories for us. At the very least I think some big Hollywood agent should talk to us about a book or movie deal because I think it would make for a great storyline.
We have fallen into kind of a set routine or ritual if you will. We get there and are usually wearing makeup. We wear this on the first day only because we have discovered this fun restaurant in a nearby town called the Leona General Store. It’s where many of the locals go for a good steak on Friday nights, so we want to look nice and all. Plus we take our one (and usually only) picture of the weekend there and we have to look good for that. We may even overdress a little. I heard our waitress (we have the same one every year) telling someone she got new blue and white striped overalls for Valentines so I’m thinking we’re good in pretty much whatever we show up wearing.
We come home and put on our pajamas - which we typically wear most of the next day. Until a few years ago we wore them all the way until Sunday, but then we started feeling all guilty for being such slugs, so we added a walk into our routine. It’s a beautiful place known for having lots of deer, so we enjoy getting out of the house for a look around.
Every year, Bill asks me the same question when I get home. “What did you do?”
“Just talked.” (I mean we eat, see a movie or two, exchange a recipe or 20, make lists of books we all want to read…but mostly we talk).
It blows Bills mind. He can’t imagine all that sitting and talking. And what kills him more is that the property has it’s own golf course. And to think it is sitting right there and we are just TALKING inside is really more than he can fathom.
It’s fine though. Works for us. A few times we’ve tried something different. When we turned 40 we went to Arizona to a really nice resort - figured we deserved it. Other than replacing the fire alarm battery (which mysteriously seems to go out almost every year WHILE we are there), it’s been pretty much a free ride in Hilltop. Another year we stayed in my parents condominium in Hot Springs, AR. While we were there we visited one of the spas on bathhouse row. My friends did not realize they really bathe you there and still have not fully recovered from the experience. But I know we all look forward to getting back to Hilltop.
We do talk a LOT. We laugh, we cry and we swap as many stories as we do recipes. We share each others joys and sorrows and each year I’m reminded of what good friends I have, what great memories we share and how fortunate I am to be included in their group.
And on our 40th birthday weekend, Carol gave us all shirts that read “What happens with the girlfriends, stays with the girlfriends.”
And when it comes to our Hilltop Honeys reunions that is true…..unless of course that Hollywood agent calls.