I spent this weekend with some old friends - friends I have known for a long time, although we are also getting older - at a get-together that has become known as Women's Weekend.
WW began as a reaction to the husbands' Memorial Day weekend canoe trip, which started as a two-day trip down the Eel River, during which the guys ran out of beer and had to call for replenishment. Since then, their annual adventure has become a nearly week-long trip into the wilds of this river or that. Meanwhile, the wives were left at home with the kids and the hope that their spouses' life insurance was paid up. In the spirit of reciprocity, WW was born.
Most years, we got together twice a year, usually at the same location: a reconstructed and modernized log cabin on the property of one of the participants. No phone (and this was before cell phones), a tiny TV which we hooked up to a VCR, no children allowed except nursing babies (and I don't recall that happening too often). While the guys were interested in activity, all we wanted to do was veg.
Initially, WW was about overindulging, in wine, chocolate, card games, R-rated movies we couldn't watch at home, (tobacco) cigarettes we couldn't smoke in front of our kids, etc. Conversation usually centered around our children. Nowadays, we mostly do the same things, but less so, as we are older and more health conscious. We still talk about our kids, but also grandchildren and aging parents and pending retirement and our various and sundry aches and pains.
While the spring meet-up continues, it has become more of a struggle to get together in the fall. You would think, now that the wee ones are adults, it would be easier, but no. Now we are more involved in our jobs and/or communities and/or extended families, doing a lot of the things we couldn't while actively parenting.
We started WW 36 years ago (I think). The first "weekend" was actually an afternoon. After a while, it became an overnight, then an entire weekend, from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. We talk about trying to take a week and travel to somewhere together. Given how difficult it is to arrange a weekend or two, I doubt this will happen, but it is fun to discuss the possibilities.
There is a core group that makes it to almost every WW. There are a few who come when they can. One or two have fallen away entirely. So far, we have not lost any members to death, but that is just a matter of time. It will be interesting to see how our tradition evolves over the next decades. Hopefully, we will be doing this for another 36 years.