I spent last weekend with a group of girls I’ve known since college. It is a yearly trip we have taken the last nine years that I wouldn’t miss even for a Saks Fifth Avenue half-off sale or unlimited free samples of Estee Lauder wrinkle cream. There is great anticipation leading up to the trip with a flurry of funny emails and phone calls that remind us of what it is that makes us annually seek this crazy reunion.
From the beginning we called ourselves the NOGS, a silly acronym created over much laughter, that somehow stuck all these years, in the same way our pearl adorned sorority pins fastened to our collared shirts. Our first trip was on a mountainside, in the middle of a snowstorm, with communication between two vehicles via walkie-talkie. One driver instructed the other how to engage in four-wheel drive while another fought pregnancy nausea and lost the battle publicly. Since that first trip we have been to various destinations – the beaches, the lakes, the casinos – and have learned that our surroundings have little influence over the entertainment and joy we get from one another.
It is a few days where we leave all responsibilities and worries behind and eagerly embrace the reassurance of tried and true friendships much like we seek the comfort of a pair of old and worn jeans that fit just right. Gab sessions take place all weekend long where everyone talks very loud and at the same time but somehow a word between us is never missed. We can’t get enough details from one another or give enough advice to those not seeking it. The NOGS are fiercely loyal and unapologetically protective. These are the types of girls that are on your side before they know your side; who cry with you before they even know what it is they are crying about. We have seen each other at some of our best, and at some of our worst, and still love each other as though we’ve seen neither.
The majority of our trip this past weekend was spent on a dock minus much needed sunscreen, laughing until we thought our guts would spill right over into the cold lake. Two fearless friends testified personally to the frigid temperatures of the water after sliding off a raft and dog-paddling to safety in between gasping breaths. The rest of us were not much help as rescue procedures could not be properly implemented because we were giggling hysterically in a bent over position. That day, hours flew by almost as quickly as the stories, and the resulting sunburned noses were worth every memory recollected and exaggerated all in the effort of making each other laugh.
There are too many events of the weekend to recount in this limited space but one specific example epitomizes normal occurrences that commonly take place on these trips. At one point during the weekend we locked ourselves out of the lake house . After remembering a door was unlocked off the almost three story deck, a plan was brilliantly put into place to scale the twenty feet necessary to correct our dilemma. Because there were some former cheerleaders among the group, it was determined that a human pyramid could be built high enough for one to climb over the railing. I am not a cheerleader, but I do work out, so I thought that it would be helpful if I assisted in the foundation of said pyramid. We reviewed the plan, flexed very little muscles, and brave Susie began her climb. Unfortunately, stability for her weight weakened as her slimy big toe ended up in my unsuspecting ear. My concentration and limited strength was immediately compromised, and down she started to come, arms and legs flailing, spewing words incomprehensible even to her. Adrenaline kicked in for Tricia and in a single, Herculean effort, she (and a merciful God) lifted Susie by her bare feet to the ledge where she scrambled over like a trained monkey in a highly-touted circus act.
Our weekend was spirited and spontaneous. Funny and unpredictable. Luxuriously lazy and not near long enough. It was a few days where the unexpected could be expected with comical results that produced memories we hope will keep us until next year. So - Hilarious Tricia, Crazy Susie, Loyal Ivy, Fabulous Tey, Outrageous Cezanne, and So Funny Susan - this post is for you. Here’s to many more years of laughter and lasting friendship. Long live the NOGS.