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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ladies, Start Your Engines!

Whew! There's nothing like pure unadulterated excitement! Adrenaline pumping, heart racing, feet moving so fast they don't seem to touch the ground and feeling so good you want to shout it from the rooftops. Well, that's exactly how the four of us felt as we practically ran giggling and breathless through the airport to our gate, to wait for boarding our plane. Although we had plenty of time before our flight was scheduled to take off, we hurried along just for the fun of it.

Our very long awaited and very much needed vacation had arrived. You already know about most of the drama and the sadness and heartache we'd all gone through late last year and earlier this year, so when it came time for us to sit down and discuss our yearly sister sojourn, it was a welcome relief.

I wasn't too sure that we'd even be planning a trip this summer. After we had almost lost Helena, and Claudette had finally gotten involved in a committed relationship, I wouldn't have been surprised if nobody went but me and Bonnie, or nobody went at all. Imagine my happiness when everybody showed up at my house right on time, on the evening we had scheduled almost a year ago.

 Now, it was tradition for us to take a week's holiday together; we'd done so for a number of years. And it was a part of that tradition that we put on the calendar the date we'd convene to plan the next trip. We'd done just that on our last night in Paradise Island, Bahamas last year, each one of us adding it to our electronic calendars. Reminders were set so we wouldn't forget and when my reminder alerted me two days ago, I wasn't sure how to proceed.

I had the responsibility of hosting the rap session at my house, and so I went ahead and made preparations. In the past, there was never any need to question whether or not the ladies would show. We took for granted that we would, we'd plan and execute and it would always turn out fantastic. So at about six o'clock on that evening of our scheduled meeting, all of the food was prepared and laid out on the screened in back porch. The weather had been so agreeable, that I thought we'd enjoy the outside from the inside! I had set the sound system on a loop to play some old school R&B music, with the volume just right for listening and conducive to our conversation.

I had just put the finishing touches to the fruit and vegetable platter when my doorbell rang in a very insistent and prolonged way. Calling out that I was coming, I hurried from my kitchen through the foyer to the front door. As I reached for the door handle to open the door, I heard the unmistakable voice of my friend Bonnie. She was practically yelling "Open this here door diva!" So I threw open the door to them,and there they were...my three closet friends smiling from ear to ear, looking fabulous in their spring attire and standing together arms linked. I could tell simply by looking at these divas that we were in for a fabulous evening of  laughter, good food and drink.

It was hard to believe that we got anything serious done because we were in such a silly mood, but we selected our vacation spot, and elected Claudette as our travel coordinator. She would make all of the arrangements and take care of all of the bookings and let us know our share of the expenses. She really got into the role of travel agent, making sure we all had our passports in order. Having already decided ahead of time that we would reserve a villa type house, we knew that we would also have to share the costs of food, drinks and other necessary amenities.

Fortunately for us that was no problem. We all had funds available to cover our costs without breaking our personal banks. Being able to go on shopping and sightseeing excursions was a must, but we were comfortably off financially so our vacations didn't cause a ripple in our finances. Several years after our first trip, we each started a vacation club account just for our yearly holiday. We have been so blessed to be able to afford our sisterhood trip every year.

And so that brings us to the here and now. Here we were about to embark on our journey, where we would abandon any and all cares to the wind, and for the next week the agenda would consist of fabulous fun, tall drinks with little umbrellas in them, decadent food, luxurious spa treatments, shameful shopping and dabbling a little in the nightlife.

We had reached the gate for our airline and since we had all had electronic boarding passes, we decided to stop in at a bar and have a "departure celebratory drink". That was Helena's idea and honestly, these gals could find any reason in the world to have a drink! But what the heck, right? We had earned the right to celebrate and let loose. Looking forward to our time together in sunny Jamaica, we lifted our glasses in salute to each other. One by one, we toasted ourselves, and when it came my turn naturally I wanted to say something profound. So, I held my glass up high and tossed my head and said "To us; full speed ahead. Ladies, start your engines!"

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