Some thirty-seven years ago, I sat in a circle in my kindergarten classroom, painfully shy. The girl next to me on my left, a wicked little beast named Laura, looked at me and said in a snotty singsong tone, “Nobody wants to sit next to Cathy!”
I felt my eyes fill with tears, and I looked away from her to my right. There sat the other shyest girl in kindergarten, Lisa. She met my eyes and gave me a small smile, and I scooted over next to her, away from the nasty little twit Laura. And so began a beautiful friendship.
Thirty-seven years we’ve been friends, with barely a spat or cross word between us. Sure, we’ve had a few times of not getting along, like when we spent a very stressful week in Yosemite with a group of bully-ish middle-school classmates or when we went on a long road trip where I ended up sick and Lisa lost her beloved grandmother. In both instances, we barely spoke by the end…but within a few days, tensions were forgotten and we were back to being the best of friends.
And in middle school one day, Lisa showed up at lunch with a new friend, Jeanette, who she had met in science class. And we quickly cemented our twosome into a threesome. That was thirty years ago. And again…barely a cross word has been spoken over the years.
These days, getting together is rare. Jeanette and I manage lunches a couple of times a month because she works half an hour from my house. But Lisa lives two states away, so seeing her is tougher. Still, we keep in touch through emails, texts, and the occasional phone call when we can fit it in between caring for kiddos.
But really talking when you have small children is tough! Between us, we have four boys ranging in age from four to eight. Three of the four like to talk a lot. (The mostly nonverbal one is somewhat delightfully quiet!) So somewhere along the way, we decided we needed a chance to just get together and talk, uninterrupted. A summit…a meeting of the minds.
And so the idea for the summit was born. And it took a while to implement. First of all, we had to coordinate a time when all three dads were free to watch the kiddos for a weekend. And last summer, we were all broke and busy. Then we tried for fall, but a health issue snuck in. So finally we settled on April, and we decided that Jeanette and I would fly to Seattle, and we’d hold our summit somewhere in that general vicinity. Lisa threw out some options, and we settled on the Hood Canal, where none of us had ever been.
What…a…blast!! I flew in on Friday afternoon and spent the afternoon hanging out with Lisa and her hubby and son. Then we picked Jeanette up at the airport late Friday night (she had to do some fancy maneuvering to coordinate childcare with her hubby, who was teaching a class back East until Friday morning!). And Saturday morning, we set out for our summit location!
As it turns out, it’s prime oyster season in the Hood Canal! This meant little to Lisa and Jeanette, who are not oyster fans, but I was delighted! I ate so many oysters! Because I know my aunt will be interested, here’s what I ate:
- Oysters baked with sriracha mayo at a sushi restaurant in Seattle.
- Oysters on the half shell at a local shop that harvests them from the local water.
- More oysters on the half shell out on the dock of the resort where we stayed. The chef shucks fresh oysters for you on the dock, and you toss the shells back into the bay when you’re finished eating them!
- Oysters shooters with dinner: oysters with mignonette in shot glasses filled with straight vodka. (Yes, I was a wee bit tipsy after those. I blame Lisa and Jeanette, who said I should “shoot” them, vodka and all. I did that for two and then decided that since I rarely drink, I ought to be a bit more cautious with the last two!)
- Baked “oyster chowder” on the half shell for dinner.
Oyster heaven, you see. Plus a lot of other good food, too. Mmmmm…
And twenty-four hours of uninterrupted conversation time! It was bliss! We talked about everything that can’t be shared around small ears, and everything that would normally be interrupted a billion times by tiny voices.
The weather was partly good and partly rainy, so our activities weren’t too ambitious: We did a short hike at the resort on Saturday, then visited a farmers’ market back in Seattle on Sunday. But the point was companionship, and it was awesome! I can barely wait for Summit 2017, which shall occur at an as-yet-undecided location, but probably somewhere in California.
Because something this good has to be a yearly event!