The Rock

"What's that movie with Nicolas Cage and Sean Conery and, it's about Alcatraz?"

"The Rock."

"The Rock? I saw a YouTube video of him once and he was dressed up like this cowboy and he was talking super girly! It was the funniest thing ever!!!"

Oh my goodness. That is just an example of what Saturday night was like for me. And by that, I mean, it was hilarious.

This weekend was The Golden Goddess Christmas Reunion Party. The GGCRP for short. Ok, we didn't really call it that, I just made that up right now.

If you remember, The Golden Goddesses are what my group of friends called ourselves in high school. We were just bursting with creativity and.... vanity as you can tell. :)

There were eight of us.

And we all, save for one whom we missed DEARLY, got together over the weekend to reinstate what should remain our annual Christmas party.

In high school we planned to see each other every year for the rest of our lives. Ok, so we were a little naive, but what high schooler isn't???

But even if we haven't seen each other consistently in the last ten years, we have, for the most part... kept in touch.

Saturday was the first time however, since our freshman year of college where we all got back together and celebrated Christmas. Ok, mostly not Christmas, mostly each other. But there was a gift exchange. So that counts, right????

I just need to say, that I have not laughed that hard in a very long time! My face literally hurt. I had to go to the bathroom just to stop smiling, just to make sure my cheeks were still capable of relaxing! I left with a headache. And not from the wine. From laughing!!

Oh my goodness.

And we did the best kind of things that only girls, and only the dearest of friends can do.

We ate.

And drank wine.

Ok. Lots of wine.

And we talked about childbirth.

And getting married.

And what we're doing with our lives now.

And most of all we remembered.

And laughed until we cried and couldn't make noise and gasped for air and found ourselves transported back to highschool where our weekends were spent like this and instead of childbirth we dreamed of children, and instead of engagements we gossiped about boys, and instead of wine it was Red Cream Soda and Dr. Pepper and instead of economics and politics and healthcare we talked about Science Class and college plans and boys. More. Boys.

The only thing that remained the same in between all these years was the food.

And the laughter.

Always the laughter.

Before I left for the party, even weeks leading up to it, Zach kept asking me, "Ok, but what are you going to do there?"

And I would answer him, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, "Talk."

"Ok, I know you're going to talk, but what are you going to do....???"

"No, seriously, just talk. Oh and drink wine."

And then he would reply, sarcastically, because he is always sarcastic, which is why I love him, "That doesn't sound very fun."

Also. He's a man. So maybe that has something to do with it.

But I got it. We all got it. Talking was the only item listed on the agenda and we were all perfectly fine with that, perfectly aware that all it would take for us to have a good time would be to gather together around some food and open our mouths.

It was spectacular.

And loud.

Very. Very. Loud.

So, we had our traditional Christmas party dinner of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Corn Bread. I brought a box of all my high school pictures that happen to be packed away in my Modge-Podge Shoe Box, lacquered with old pictures and magazine cutouts that the lovely Kristi made for me. We watched old videos of our high school senior trip to San Francisco where I remembered that I hate my voice, I hate my hair straight and I used to not have had three kids.

But most of all through it, I remembered that I had seven of the best friends any girl can have. Really, we were more like sisters than friends, bickering and arguing, laughing and sharing everything, playing pranks on each other and helping one another through some of the toughest times of our youth.

I have some pictures.

Char, who is pregnant with her second little blessing and Bethany. We were waiting for everyone to arrive over a bowl of Chex Mix and catching up. Char, who married her high school sweetheart, although technically he was in college and she was in high school, are living somewhere in Iowa and raising their growing family. She is the perfect mommy and has the most beautiful little girl. And I wish her the best with the little man on his way to blessing the pants out of their family.

Bethany, also an amazing mommy of the cutest little girl probably ever. I do have to say, what makes her so cute is that she is as ornery as Bethany and the rest of us just love to watch her get back a small portion of what she gave! :) Just kidding Beth. She is the dear, dear friend that gave me a job when I needed one and then understood and still loved me when I quit a month later.

Hillary and Myself. Hil is from the South and moved to Omaha just for junior high and high school, when she returned to Arkansas for college she stayed there, so this was the first time we had seen each other in almost ten years. She is a child counselor in a really tough job and is probably the most perfect soul to serve the troubled youth of Arkansas's public school systems. She is also a newlywed and is glowing with happiness.

Also. I was making the cornbread. And if we can just get honest for a second, if I'm in the kitchen, there is something on my boob. Or both of them....

Group photo minus Hil and me. Aren't these the prettiest girls? Our other Bethany has a very fancy job. Well, it's fancy to us! And it's important. She is my childhood best friend and loves traveling the world as much as I do. I've declared, whether she knows it or not might be questionable, that we will take a trip together before we die. A long trip, with exotic food, where the people speak an obscure language and air conditioning doesn't exist, where we can leap over cultural boundaries with the same grace and class we apply to all life, tucking away our innate feminism and rebelliousness for just a few weeks until we are completely imbedded into the culture and are dreaming in a different language.

Kristi, my dearest Kristi, with one of the sweetest hearts on this great green earth is raising her little boy who takes after his Mama and just radiates graciousness. She is going to school to be a nurse during the day while at night she works with Alzheimer's patients. She is that generous soul that falls absolutely in love with the sick and elderly and works with them in ways the rest of us can't even understand. I have always, always envied her humility when it comes to those that need her the most. I truly admire her work.

Charis is in the middle. She followed her dreams, and my dreams.... of getting a journalism degree and writes for small town papers in a job that I secretly get so sick with envy for I have to remind myself that God had a different plan for my life. She is engaged and happy and on her way to a blissful ever after. And she is going to marry a farmer and live on a farm and I can see the fear in her eyes so I have tried to reassure her that living on a farm is the most wonderful thing in the entire world and she is very soon going to adore the isolation. But I don't think she believes me yet....

Here we are sitting down to dinner. Bethany. Um, the first Bethany. Was very, very proud of her decorations and table. Didn't she do an amazing job? The ambiance was perfection. Everything gold of course, for the Golden Goddesses.

Is there anything better in this world than sitting down with good friends to a meal and excellent conversation??? I don't think there is. I truly believe this is what heaven is going to be like.

After dinner, we opened presents. Our gifts were a limit of $10 and had to remind us of High School. Those girls are creative! And have better memories than me.... There was anything from coffee from our fave high school hot spot, to Ghiradelli Chocolate in honor of Zach and me being left for hours, nay abandoned for hours, in the middle of San Francisco with my mother whilst the rest of the class was off to tour the city.

We we forgotten about.

I don't even want to talk about it.

In a time before cell phones.....

I SHOULD have gotten a picture of everyone with their gifts. But. I didn't.... Shoot!! Well, there's always next year!

And then we watched our videos. Where we were mean girls, and funny girls and angry girls and embodied everything high school and everything us.

I had prepared a toast. Not the kind you stick in the toaster, Creekers... The kind where you raise your glasses and you bless those around you with goblet in the air.

I don't know if my toast would have came out eloquent or not that night, I got caught up in the memories and laughter and moved through the night without lifting my glass or sharing my words.

So. I'm going to give it now. And if you've ever heard me talk, you know it will come out better on here anyway.

So, raise your proverbial glasses with me in a toast to some of the best friends I've ever had.

Ladies, since those precious high school days I have had the blessing of lots of friends in my life, some have come through quickly and others have stayed a while, put their roots down and began a deeper friendship with me, but there has never been a stronger bond of friendship shared with anyone other than you ladies.

You share almost every one of my childhood memories, you certainly made junior high and high school effortlessly easy and the closeness we shared instilled a confidence in me that is rarely shaken. With you I was daring enough to break every rule and even some laws, I was brave enough to face my fears and even watch scary movies, I was strong enough to face my dad's sickness and countless heartbreak from boys whether real or imagined, I was held accountable for my words and actions, I was forced to be honest and learned to be sensitive. I wasn't lied to. I wasn't coddled. I was given the truest, most loyal friendships any girl could have every asked for and I hope I gave it all back.

Even though our lives have all moved in different directions and there has been time and distance in-between us since those blessed high school days, those memories will be cherished for my life time.

As long as I can still remember them. Until the day when Kristi has to take care of me in her Alzheimer's Home.


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  1. Thanks Rachel! Thanks especially for giving us the toast here. I don't think I've always realized it, but my friendship with you and "the Bethanys," Hillary, Kristi, Ashley and Char have shaped me and given me some of that confidence you talk about. The party was just as loud as I was expecting :) I don't think I've heard that many female voices talking about one time since high school, maybe college. It was fun. Thanks for making it happen! And thanks for the blog (and the books, which someday I will read and love!). You're good at this writing stuff :)

  2. I was so happy we could all be together again! It was awesome and just like the old days. Having such great friends definitely shaped my life. I can never thank you girls enough (and tears are rolling my cheeks while Im writing this) for being by my side and helping me through the hardest time in my life when my dad passed away. You girls stuck right by me from the moment I found out to and hard nights and days ahead. I couldn't have gotten through it without each of you. I remember waking up crying the night after he passed and Rachel you were laying in bed next to me and wiped my tears and held me. I looked around the basement and you girls were all sprawled out and sleeping in chairs next to me. I will forget that and no words can say thank enough. I love you guys. Kristi

  3. lol I meant to write I will NEVER forget that :).. Kristi