Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fab Five

And then there were five. The Fab Five.

Most of the gang dropped like flies as our September Book Club in the woods at Jill’s new place approached - too much to do, kids to watch and work to finish, but the rest of us, desperate to get away for a little girl time, tied up some of the loose ends and headed north. Getting there is always half the fun as this crowd somehow never takes too long to disintegrate into a Sex and The City episode, making the drive to Pinetop one hilarious, bawdy road trip. Armed with Starbucks caffeine and some new tunes, we made it all the way to Showlow before we had to pee, pulling over into the ever-so-convenient Branding Iron saloon. Empty bladders and a behind schedule but still way past noon time of day could only mean one thing – time for a beer with our new spiky grey haired, dangly bead earring-wearing, only missing one tooth BFF bartender. She poured some ale from her selection including local faves Moose Drool and Elk something or other as we relaxed into our upcoming Three Day Weekend, but also took some time to recognize the date, 9/11, and paid tribute to our country as we watched the silent TVs in the background showing images we will never forget.

Our hostess, Jilly B

We made our way up the road past the fire station and the Art Barn and the golf club to finally lay our eyes on the magnificent Jill and her new retreat in the woods. The place is amazing, complete with big comfy sofas in front of the fireplace, a way cool party loft upstairs, yeasty bread rising on the stove in the kitchen and the best part for some over-heated Phoenicians, an incredible front porch that we all sank into as we lounged with our drinks and munchies from the stocked fridge and sat there for hours yapping away, surrounded by hundreds of pine trees and aspen trees and birds and squirrels, as we felt the temp drop and the rest of the world float away.

I like Big Buns and I can not lie we kept singing (hip shaking included) as we watched Jill’s almost homemade dinner rolls quadruple in size as dinner came together and we gathered around her grandmother’s gorgeous table in sweat pants, wine glasses at the ready. We did have an actual book assignment which was loved by all that read it (about half).

The evening ended with a seems like hours-long game of Apples to Apples, complete with hysterical laughter, unruly behavior, illegal judge influencing, some flashing (of course) and a few literary references to The Old Man and the Sea until we all finally called it a night.

Biorhythms not yet calibrated, the early risers headed out for a long walk in the cool morning air through the incredible neighborhood, followed by a trip to the totally quaint Country Store. I don’t cook, so when I was asked to pick up some crusty bread for Laurel’s Farm Frau French Toast with real maple syrup from an actual tree, I didn’t want to embarrass myself and ask just what is crusty bread? Thankfully, a trip to the Country Store had just what I was looking for

and more - the nice small town people, the adorable cowboy roasting chilies outside, the driving with the windows down, Champagne by my side, ready for the mimosas. We devoured breakfast, right out of Gourmet Magazine, and as our stories circled the table, it became clear that no matter how different we are, we all have family trees full of strong women, good daddies, best friend siblings, loving grandmothers, kissin’ cousins and creepy brothers-in-law.

The day just got better and better with some antiquing, art gallery hopping, bull riding, happy hour at The Lion’s Den, complete with the world-famous wineburger, dinner at Charlie Clarks and a stop off at the bar with the good ‘ol boys for a night cap and a Big Gulp-sized roadie margarita. We wound up snuggled on the sofas on a cold night, safe from the thunder storms and hail, flipping through girlie magazines until we were all talked out.

The real world was calling, but we had one more glorious morning, breakfast outside in the sun before starting the re-entry process. We all told, asked, begged, begged, begged Miss Jilly B to make this a yearly tradition after a little more front porch time before packing up.

We now have three more days of memories, inside jokes and stories to tell that will tie us all together, like our mascot, Ms. Smut,

the Gertie temper tantrum at Mancuso’s reenactment, Jill’s big buns, the Miraval-like challenge course of overcoming the fear of opening a Champagne bottle, the watching In Her Shoes 6 times, the "is a frog's ass watertight?" and the “do I look fat in this thong?” One of our other tie us together moments from the past is the “Who Loves You, Pretty Baby” song from a fabulous trip to Vegas (Jersey Boys). As I was about to close the trunk on the somehow expanded in two days luggage, the song came on the radio, weaving through yet another Diva extravaganza – and the hips started moving and the voices started singing again – who loves you, pretty baby?  as we pointed the car downhill and headed home.

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