Friday, October 21, 2011
I’ve often wondered if Adam and Eve ever took separate vacations. Even if you live in paradise, you might enjoy the occasional change of scenery. Or maybe, after Eden’s First Couple and family increased and multiplied for a generation or two they might have opted for the random single gender trip. It’s called bonding and I’ve always been its champion. I know Jim has enjoyed fishing, golfing and hunting trips with his male friends over the years, and I’ve had loads of fun doing all-girl activities. There’s also the one-on-one bonding: mother/son, father/daughter, etc. These times are unique too. All are opportunities to spend special time with special people.
One of my favorite get-aways fills a lot of these slots: our family’s annual Girls’ Weekend. Each year, since 2007, the regional Hill-connected females drive up to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a long weekend of talking, visiting, shopping and hanging out – AKA bonding. My sister and her husband have a mountain home there and we always go in mid October for the fall color and all the festival activities. For the first time this year we brought my two granddaughters along with the six adult women. As I recalled all the fun we had last weekend, I began to ponder the numbers. There were eight of us in three generations, and this included 19 intra-family relationships: two grandmothers, four mothers, five daughters, four sisters, two cousins and two mothers-in-law. Our combined ages totaled 363 years, and as one of my grands (bless her little mathematical heart) pointed out, I was the largest contributor to this total!
Over that 72-hour trip I got to spend one-on-one time with each and every one of these very special females. My sister, the Pearl Mesta of the event, emulated that 19th century international “hostess with the mostess” by navigating (beginning months ago) everybody’s busy schedules. A date was then set when we could all get away and when the mountain activities were at their peak. She mailed packets of info to each of us on all the tourist opportunities, such as the multitude of wine tastings, specialty shops, antique emporiums, favored restaurants and the allure of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The weather was perfect, the color nearing its max and a highlight of the trip was the all-day Autumn Leaves Festival in nearby Mt. Airy, N.C. This is the model setting for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, and downtown streets were blocked off, vendors’ booths were set up in the streets and all the town shops were still open, creating a tremendous shopping venue. It was every bit as crowded as our Flowertown Festival and featured many of the same delightful types of arts and crafts with the addition of the local, lively – and very much alive – mountain music. A highlight of the festival for us was the mini crowd that gathered as a sidewalk artist did a charcoal rendition of our two youngest members, who are of course, two of the most charming of girly-girls.
I don’t know if Eve ever had this kind of experience, but for her sake, I hope she did. Many thanks to Cynthia, Cathy, Mary Clare, Amy, Kathy, Anna and Grace for making last weekend one paradise of a trip.