By Sharon Tillotson
Eighteen years ago our mutual friend gathered up six women she felt would make for a great women’s only weekend at her beach ‘cabin’ on a British Columbia recreation lake. She sent an invitation to attend the first annual Ladies of the Lake (the original LOL), otherwise known as Womens’ Wellness Weekend (or WWWI). It was a command performance in the invitees minds; who would turn down such an opportunity from our beloved classy friend. Most stayed the weekend, a couple only a few hours or one day. I barely knew one, but the rest I’d known for years. Four were from the host’s hometown, three, including me, a two to five hour drive away.
In her inimitable style, the choice of friends was a good one. We were business owners, stay-at-home-moms, a teacher, banker, accounts manager and realtor. That first weekend, yours truly brought out a pub game called Pass the Pigs. It was portable, easy to learn and a ton of fun. I suggested to the early arrivers that we play a round while waiting for the rest, and after some arm-twisting they agreed. As the others trickled in and got settled we insisted they join in the fun. Each looked at us as if we were crazy. You want us to play what? Pigs? But it was obvious we were having too much fun and everyone was eventually hooting and hollering. Then our friend the realtor arrived. This gal loves to play bridge and put up the most resistance. I think we compromised and said we would play later if she would just play one game. I will never forget how she went from grumble to the most boisterous player in a very short time. She got so into it we ended up having competitions for the title of Porcine Queen. I confess I deliberately lost so I wouldn’t have to wear the piggy noses and ears we made from pink Styrofoam egg cartons for the winners, but the others were all good sports.
Alas, that set the tone for that weekend and all the upcoming ones. We kept the LOL and WWW designation for a few years, but try as we might we never returned to the elegance of that first invitation. It has become and I suppose will ever be the Piggy Weekend.
Who knew how much pig paraphernalia was out there – and trust me if it could be found, we did. Over the years we added so much stuff it is now packed away into boxes each year and stuffed into a closet awaiting our next invasion. Upon our arrival our first order of business is to decorate every nook and cranny with pink piggies. Early on someone brought out a pig that oinks most annoyingly every time one walks by. That thing will not die! The fabulous wax candle chandelier is accessorized with all manner of little piggies sitting, hanging and hugging. Scattered about are piggy soap, candles and ornaments. On one chest sits a set of seven rather vulgar female pigs in various states of disarray, sunning themselves in tiny striped canvas lounge chairs. Inside and outdoors stand ceramic and bronze ornamental sculptures. A giant stuffed pig rests in a corner. Pig string lights adorn the tree that grows through the sundeck. We have pig gilded drinking glasses and serving dishes. A very cute tea kettle we found used in which our host arranges flowers. We have made piggy cupcakes and found pig truffle chocolates to die for. At various times members have brought for each member: pig socks, slippers (more than one variety) and seven uniquely individual sets of pig night attire from La Vie en Rose, a boutique lingerie store out of Montreal (I kid you not). Throughout the year we use pig animations to add to the elegance of our emails. Apparently, with pigs, more is more.
We are still a core group of seven, though one member was unable to continue for personal reasons and we added a new friend several years ago who fits right in with our goofy group of ageing baby boomers. We always play at least a token game of Pigs.
I was the only divorcee at the time of our first gathering, although I had a new significant other. There has been one other divorce, but I hold the record at two and am currently the only single one. Both my former mates passed away at an early age afterward, so I just shrug and claim I’m twice a widow.
The bond grows stronger as time passes. Most of us have lost parents in those eighteen years. Our children are now all grown, some are married and a few have given us grandchildren. We’ve had illnesses and tragedies. A few years ago, our host lost her husband and two years after that the unimaginable happened and her 24-year-old daughter passed away suddenly while overseas. Each time we circled the wagons and grieved along with her. We are now happy to see her in a committed relationship. Life goes on…
This year our newest Piggy brought out the word game Quiddler. We loved playing it. We even used a couple of Kindles we’d brought and downloaded the English Oxford as our designated dictionary so we had one for each end of the table. One wonders what would have happened had we begun with that game? Would we be the Quidds? Would we have a bunch of little Quiddlets running around? Though far more civilized, I think we’d prefer to stick with our pigs – they are pink and cute and abundant. And just plain fun.
Piggies notwithstanding, we are envied the whole world over, especially by the young folk. We always tell them to assemble their own group. I highly recommend doing so. The opportunities are endless. A spa group, perhaps? Vegas, Sedona, a cruise, hiking, golf, punners or poets. Won’t matter, the end result will never be the same as envisioned. But as in our case, probably so much more…
As our fearless leader would sign off: Snork.
- Yours truly 2nd from left
- Porcine Princess
forgive me, I wanted to have the pix side by side, but am a bit tech-challenged