I just spent a week on vacation with my sisters!
We drove to Nashville, stayed in two large side-by-side apartments in a lovely resort (thanks to my sister, Brenda!), had a wonderful tour of the city that included a traditional dinner and “honky-tonkin'” down Broadway (thanks to my sister, Amy!), took in a fantastic show at the Grand Ole Opry (thanks again, Brenda!), and all-in-all just had the best time with the dearest women I know (thank you Brenda, Cheryl, Nita, Robin and Amy!).
We started out on Sunday, in two cars. Cheryl drove one, with Brenda keeping company beside her, and me lounging in the back seat. Amy drove the other, with Robin as co-pilot and Nita relaxing in the back. Both cars were loaded to capacity with the luggage of six women off on a jaunt. Each car took a different route, but arrived within a half-hour of each other.
We unpacked and settled in, opened bottles of wine, ordered pizza delivery and started plotting our week. Some things had specific dates and times, others were just ideas or possibilities. We’re big on possibilities in my family. We prefer to not book every moment, leaving openings for serendipity and the wonderful surprise. We keep in mind that on vacation, relaxation and enjoyment trumps an agenda every time.
The wine was the first of many bottles we worked through; the pizza was the first of many wonderful meals.
Cheryl was called away on a family emergency. She left in her car on Tuesday to be with her son and his family in South Carolina. We missed her, and worried along with her, but did our best to soldier on. I’m happy to report that everything seems to be going well there, and we’ve all been able to relax a little.
I could report on all the activities we managed to squeeze into our week, all of the sights and sounds of Nashville, the many interesting shops and marvelous restaurants, the terrific characters we met. They are nice memories, but not most important.
I can say, honestly, that there were moments of tension, of anger and hurt feelings. When you get a group of people together who were all children together, those things come out. They were only moments, though, quickly resolved, and not the memories I will hold when I think of this vacation.
When I remember this time with my sisters, I’ll be thinking of other things:
…the way we kept informed and kept Cheryl “in the loop” by frequent text messaging and long-distance word games.
…early morning, sitting in the outdoor hot tub chatting with Brenda as the steam rose into the cool air.
…high fives all around whenever we pulled a correct answer out of the air during Pub Trivia.
…eating a nice meal at a brewery, Brenda and I decided to order the six-glass artisan beer sampler. I expected double-shot sized samples, but we received our beer in 8-ounce glasses. I tasted each, shared with Nita, and drank my favorite with my meal. Brenda started at the left and worked her way through every one!
…Robin and Amy, the youngest in our family, shopping for their grandchildren.
…Nita, reporting to her grandson, “I’m having SO MUCH fun!”
…the candle we lit for our sister, Sheila, to keep her close though she’s no longer with us.
…packing to go home, with one less car, more passengers and many purchases: when the hatchback finally closed successfully after many failed attempts, we cheered and embraced.
…running into bad weather on our way home, we ended up in a motel for the night. Shortly after we checked in, the electrical power went out. We drank beer and wine and played our game with one small LED flashlight, and the glow from Sheila’s candle.
These, along with the giggles, the bright eyes and sweet smiles of each of my sisters, are the memories I’ll cherish.