It was not as I planned.

The church van pulled into the driveway and eleven women spilled out with bundles, bags, pillows, sleeping bags and various forms of food, most of which included chocolate.  As they filed into the house I was embarrassed to realize that I couldn’t pin names to familiar faces which is the downside of a growing church with two services.  Add to that the fact that I’m part of the praise team for the second service and sometimes in skits for both, so they see me on the platform and I can’t always catch up with them after service.  I felt better when it became apparent that many of them didn’t know each other.

It didn’t take long to break the ice and load the plates.  We had brownies, hot fudge and ice cream, turtle cream cheese cake, carmel corn, cookies, butterfinger cake, and more.  Let us not forget the litres of coke.

I’d planned for a high energy night.  The games were stacked, the carefully selected movies filled two shelves, plenty to choose from.  I had cleaned the porch, the refrigerator, the sheets, the extra makeup brushes, and made sure I had a fresh bottle of polish remover and plenty of cotton balls.  But the evening did not go as planned.

We played Balderdash, then we started talking.  Midnight came, two had to leave early, the rest of us continued getting to know each other, share kid stories, jokes, and girltalk.  Once in a while someone would suggest a movie or another game but oddly, it was never seconded.  We talked.

….until 4 am.

Leigh slid slowly down the side of the sofa and gently tipped over.  BTW, did you girls know that’s a reclining sofa?

Next, Nancy shuffled into the room with the air mattress.  Hey, Nanc, there are 3 beds you’re ignoring .. too late.  She was down and not getting up.  Michelle rolled out her sleeping bag on a bed.  Steph parked the coffee table in the kitchen and herself in her sleeping bag where she stood.  Dot, our only senior whose joints work better than a gymnast’s, curled up behind the dining room table next to the wall.  She wisely decided that the table would protect her from being tripped on by anyone on the way to the bathroom.  Beth laid back where she’d been sitting in front of the TV.  I saw the empty queen bed, announced to the immovables that there were two soft bed spaces available.  They were down, and I needed a crane to change that.

As I was turning out my light, I heard Jackie say as she tapped her toothbrush, “I think I got my second wind!” We drifted off to the tune of giggles and whispers.

Approximately 9:00, eleven rumpled, blurry lookin’ women loaded up half empty dishes, bunched their blankets and pillows, thanked me for a wonderful time and sort of fell into the van.

Sunday morning, people asked me how the party went.  I had planned a report of fixing hair and nails, laughing over games, sitting on the deck and upsetting the neighbors, and telling scary and/or gross stories  — you know, a slumber party.  Instead, we bunched in the same room, afraid we’d miss something someone said if we broke away.

We talked.  We shared.  All night.  And it was right.

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