In 2010, my high school friend, Deloris Hutton, invited several women who had graduated from Portland High School in 1962 (Yikes! Really? That sounds prehistoric) to meet at her house in Louisville for a small reunion. The plan was to arrive on Tuesday afternoon and leave Thursday morning. Four of us jumped at the chance to get together.
As it turned out, when we reflected on slumber parties of our youth, we realized that even though three or four others often attended, we were the five that always ended up together. So it was appropriate that we were the ones who were excited to get together, though we had not stayed in touch over the years.
We had so much fun it became an annual event and the days were extended to Tuesday afternoon until Friday afternoon. We began a rotation by going to my house the next year, then Norma Carol Gault’s in Chattanooga, then Linda McDonald’s in Portland, Tennessee. The fifth person, Linda Blain then of Nashville, hosted at other times in the summers when her daughter was on vacation and we could use her house. Other friends sometimes joined us when we met in Portland.
I only missed the second one in Chattanooga because the hostess had to change the dates and we were already committed to an LST FriendsCamp week at that time. LST also kept me from one of the extra ones in Nashville.
Steve wonders how we could still have so much to talk about, but we never seem to run out of conversation. I told him that we may tell stories we’ve told before, but our minds are so confused we don’t even recall that we’ve heard them!
This year, in Louisville for the third visit, we had some lovely activities. Our first evening was a “make your own pizza,” which we put together on Boboli crusts and then Deloris took them to the grill for her husband Tate to cook for us. (We all enjoy getting to know each other’s husbands at these events!) Super toppings made great pizzas, and with a terrific salad we were filled up. Ending with a typical Italian dessert, fruit and cheese, was just right.
Of course we always stay up WAY too late and thus sleep in. Deloris always had plenty of coffee, pastries, and fruit.
On Wednesday we went to the Brown Hotel for their famous Hot Brown. I’ve had Hot Browns other places, but none as delicious as this one, invented there in 1926. Then we toured the Mona Bismarck exhibit at the Frazier Art Museum–amazing outfits from the “Best-dressed Woman in the World” in 1933. Originally from Kentucky, Mona managed to marry more than one rich husband and to dress in Haute Couture. The exhibit covered five decades of her delightful wardrobe and wonderful pictures, many taken by Sir Cecil Beaton.
That evening we were served delightful pork barbecue with perfect sides—slaw, baked beans, and potatoes. Our dessert was a cake brought by Norma Carol, a strawberry pound cake that was amazing. Fortunately, it was large enough to still have some left by the time we all departed on Friday afternoon.
Thursday afternoon we toured Cave Hill Cemetery, 170 years old and “rich in history.” We heard fascinating stories from John Campbell, our tour guide. We saw the graves of Muhammad Ali, Colonel Harland Sanders, and other notables. That evening, we ate at the Gasthaus, a local German restaurant. Our food was scrumptious and we enjoyed the atmosphere, too. One of the desserts we shared was a strawberry Napoleon, a real treat. I’ve read about Napoleons for years but this was my first time to taste one. It was fabulous.
Friday, our final morning, Deloris cooked a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and baked French toast. We lingered a very long time before heading for our homes.
There is something special about being with friends who have known you for 65 years. We help each other remember long-forgotten events and people; we share stories about trips and events that have happened more recently.
Over all, we share our faith. We volunteer to pray for each other with personal health challenges and family issues. As Linda Blain texted, we are “still bathing in the feelings of love and laughter that we so easily shared.” We are all quite blessed.
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
Proverbs 27:9, MSG