Tuesday at Retreat

Day Two at Elder Camp (aka Quilt Retreat) is crispy bacon day. The people who fix our food lure us to the large stone dining hall in the morning with the smell of country bacon. How lucky are we to spend four nights in a cabin in the Georgia woods with three meals a day laid before us? Country cookin’ for sure: fried chicken (twice so far), fried okra, French Fries, homemade mashed potatoes, apple cobbler, sweeeeeeeet tea.

This is the 18th year our group has met for a week long retreat in March. In a good year there can be as many as 18 of us here. As we age the numbers fluctuate and diminish. Two of the group have passed away and every year there are new health issues among us.

We seem to have had more than our share of cancers. More than half of us have suffered one cancer or another. Parts have been replaced. Husbands died. Divorces happened leaving 60 year old women to start a new life they never intended. But this is a support group that can lift you over any barrier or pot hole.

One thing hasn’t changed and that is the essential need we all have to let go of the “stuff” in our lives for just one week. We laugh heartily – some more heartily than others, share stories, gripe, sometimes laugh til we cry, or just cry.

Sure we get bitchy. Never can find music we can agree on. Or it’s too hot or too cold. Somebody’s crabby because it’s Wednesday and project panic has set it. So and so is feeling bloated. Most of us can’t sleep well. Pool the sleep aids. Pick your fave.

When we first started retreating we all quilted. Now it’s fun to look around the room and see the other directions some of the creativity has gone.

Pam doesn’t even bring fabric anymore. She has branched out with watercolors and is an accomplished potter. If we’re lucky she brings pieces we can buy. Look at this painting of a snake she made for her grandson who is obsessed with copperheads. Pretty scary sitting next to her!

Libby enjoys making complicated quilts that require her to do this before cutting fabric. Scary sitting next to her, too.

Edie, who is our Margarita Queen, works on authentic looking Harry Potter costumes for her grandkids. Fortunately, tiny Becky’s just the right size to be the model for a Griffindor cape.

I haven’t quilted much recently but this year I dug out some old fabric and stitched up this cheerful little quilt just for the heck of it. Also enjoying some mid morning and mid afternoon naps without being asked if I feel okay!

Crispy cold but sunny weather makes walking back and forth from cabin to lodge a nice break from our basement workroom.

These are the creations of what I call The Real Quilters. The women who plan each fabric, each placement, each design. Compare to my quilt above. Clearly, I have more time to drink wine so I’m not complaining. Somebody else’s turn in the drinking chair tonight:

I think I want this pimped out sewing machine.

Day Two in the books. Is there stuff going on in the world I should know about? If so I hope it saves until Saturday. Meanwhile, I’ll party on.

4 Replies to “Tuesday at Retreat”

  1. Love your post about “Elder Camp” as you dubbed it. So funny and poignant—and what a wonderful celebration of enduring friendship over eighteen years, faithfully gathering to share and check-in with each other. Beautiful story, terrific writing. More, more!


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