Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gator Farm?

Over two recent weekends, I've had the opportunity to spend time with some of my favorite girls...girls I've been friends with now for literally over HALF of my life. How is that possible? Much love to all my K4 buddies (long story, don't ask) who have been amazing friends of mine since Freshman year in high school. It's so interesting to see how we've all grown and changed over the last 15 years. As adults, we definitely don't have the same things in common as we did in high school, but one thing that hasn't changed is how much fun we have together.

At the end of October (and on Abbie's 30th birthday no less), we ventured out to Oktoberfest in Hermann, MO for a day at the wineries. Huge thanks to Greg for driving us out there and to Charlie for putting up with us in the car as Amanda, Felicia, Anne, Bridget and I caught up (complete with a phone call from Felicity along the way as well). Abbie and Blaine drove separately and met us at our first stop, Adam Puchta. After a tasting, we found a picnic table, and I quickly learned what winery pros my friends are, as Amanda unloaded an impressive spread of food to go along with our wine. Anne was my date for the day, so we shared a bottle of wine.

Next, we got on our way to Hermanhoff, but we were distracted along the way by a sign promoting reptiles. So, we pulled over to take pictures. Personally, I was terrified of the gator, but fortunately I have Anne and Amanda who grew up on farms and aren't afraid of animals (not that they farmed gators, but somehow their experience with cows, pigs, and turkeys makes them more qualified to deal with any wild animal). Bridget, Felicia and I were a little less comfortable, so we stood far in the back. You can't tell in the picture, but I'm clutching their hands for dear life.

Anne and Amanda were awarded for their bravery with a certificate. I, on the other hand, ran to the car screaming when a dog barked. After the gator pit stop, we were on our way again to Hermanhoff. It was an absolutely perfect day, and we got to hang out on the hill for a bit before heading back to JC.

On a side note, this was during the World Series (game 4 maybe?). It had previously been determined that the Cardinals played better when I drank red wine, so I would like to point out that I did more than my part in Hermann, and the Cardinals won that night 16-7. You're welcome, Cardinal nation!

Two weeks (and a World Series championship) later, I got to spend another fun-filled Saturday with my girls in St. Thomas at the Fall Fantasy. This is an annual fund-raiser for the church in St. Thomas. Anne and her mom so graciously opened up Casa de Loethen. We went to church and then the party began. The theme was Western (one of only a couple themes that we decided were actually viable in the farm town of about 300 people).

The big attraction is a reverse lottery for a grand prize of $10,000. Unfortunately none of us won, but the guy who did was pretty damn excited and ended up hosting the after party, so we got to share in some of the excitement. The other best part of the night was the 2 little old ladies (seriously, over 80) who won a door prize of 5 free tans from a tanning salon! LOVE!

Anne and I again shared wine, and I woke up the next morning slightly worse for the wear. She rode with me back to KC, and we re-lived some of the evening's more memorable when I told her brother TJ (a farmer) that his truck smelled like animal feces. I think he was slightly offended until I told him he pulls it off well.

After the weekend, Anne and I were discussing with her mom how fortunate we are to have such wonderful friends, and one thing we noticed is that 9 out of the 10 of us either have our Master's Degree or are currently working on our Master's. And the other one of us has one of the more difficult jobs, as a stay-at-home mom (love you, Tiersa!). I now realize that groups of friends like us are not necessarily the norm in society, and with Thanksgiving being next week, now seems like a great time to reflect on how thankful I am to have spent some of the most important years of my life surrounded by some of the most remarkable women I know. These women have had a profound effect on my life, and I so look forward to all the great memories to come!