(Just kidding, Mom!)
In all truth, I have talked some pretty big talk about the drunken bacchanal that was CousinFest '07, but in reality, we are really four middle-aged ladies (although we are smokin' hot) and our idea of some wild partying this past weekend was sedately drinking some margaritas with our dinner and then sitting in Susie's pool, keeping ourselves afloat with Funnoodles hitched up under our arms. That is not exactly the kind of behavior that makes the neighbors call the cops.
Our drives to and from CousinFest were wonderful, as always. Lily and Carol and I talk so much and so deep that the miles just fly, sometimes laughing and sometimes getting teary and sometimes stopping to replenish the snack inventory.
This year's CousinFest in Kentucky and Susie's new house was marked by the fact that I had a nice, plump roll of bills to take down with me. We didn't really plan to do any shopping, because being together is just enough. But still. A girl always feels better with a little spending money in her purse. That's what I've heard anyway, because I left all my money in my van, tidily rolled up and stuck in the console. (It turned out that my cell phone was there too, but I didn't know that until Sunday.)
Lily and I reached Carol's house in fine style; all our luggage was loaded into Carol's SUV; we kissed our uncle, Carol's dad, goodbye and went off, waving and giddy.
Thirty minutes later, as we were all murmuring about lunch, I yelped, "OHHH NOOOO!!!!!"
"What? What?" Carol and Lily shrieked, wide-eyed. (We're all wound a little tight in our family.) Their voices and expressions indicated that I'd just noticed that we'd run over a tangle of barbed-wire fencing lying in the road, or that possibly I'd seen that hook-handed man that figures so largely in stories about unwary travelers.
"My money!" I wailed. "I left my money in the van!"
Carol was quick to whip out her cash and to tell me that she also had her debit card, so I was comforted, but still wanted to kick myself.
We got to Susie's city easily, and turned into her neighborhood, which is built around the biggest, ritziest golf course I've ever seen, and kept whispering, "Wow. Look at that place!...Omigosh, look at that place!"
Susie's house reminded me that Marie Antoinette, before that unfortunate business with her head, had a "little" "farmhouse" she called le petit hameau built on the grounds of the palace of Versailles so that she could go there whenever she was feeling "domestic" and "milk the cows" and "bake some bread" and pretend that she was the wife of a "humble French peasant" instead of Louis, who had a few Issues. Of course, the real French peasants always were there well beforehand to bathe the cows and shine their hooves and polish their udders and tie blue silk ribbons around their tails and madame la reine would sit down on a three-legged stool with a velvet cushion to milk la vache into a solid gold pail, but whatever.
Susie's beautiful house has that same sort of air about it, although she herself is nothing like Marie Antoinette, I promise. Because if she were? I would so hit her with a teacup. She came out to the door with her sweetie pie golden retriever, Summer, and we all hugged and kissed and cried and then got down to carrying in the luggage, primarily so that we could unearth the booze, which had been securely cushioned between all the suitcases.
Lily, Carol and I got the grand tour, which was so amazing that I kept blacking out and having to be revived with cool, wet face cloths scented with almond. I have hopes of what heaven will be like and one of them now is that I will be met at the pearly gates by an angel proferring a cool, almond scented face cloth. My private guest room with the en suite bath was so elegant that when I quietly burped later on after putting on my pajamas, I hung my head in shame and whispered "Please excuse me" to the furniture.
Susie fixed us a wonderful, cool dinner because Kentucky is hotter than the first layer of hell, a fact which I got straight from Dante's Inferno. She made chicken salad, fruit ambrosia, veggies and dip and about a million other delicious things and she lit little citronella candles all over her gorgeous brick patio and we ate outside to the music of Earth, Wind and Fire (I told you we were middle-aged), who had to compete with the companionable croaking of the bullfrogs and Carol's unchained symphony on the blender as she mixed the margaritas, long on lime, short on tequila.
One of the greatest pleasures of the evening was finally getting to meet Susie's husband, Doug. Lily, Carol and I had never met him because they've been all over the country and the world in the few years since they've been married. They have to keep traveling to Maui and Paris and exotic destinations like those because they just don't realize how fun it is to be landlocked in Indiana. One day they'll figure that out; until then, all we can do is pray for them, I suppose.
Anyway, Doug is a pure southern gentleman with an accent that sounds like equal parts fresh butter and clover honey sliding off a hot biscuit. He could make the phone book sound like a sonnet. He could say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" and you'd still want to just swoon on the verandah. And not only does he have That Voice, he also did all the dishes both nights so that we ladies could all sit on the covered back porch and screech and giggle like adolescents. Now, I ask you, did Susie pick a winner, or what?
The first night, I went to bed at about 2:00 a.m. basking in the delight of having an entire suite to myself, where I could hog all the pillows and the covers and sample the many Arbonne products that Susie left sitting temptingly around the bathroom. I was deeply intimidated by the Kohler toilet, initially wondering if I was supposed to pee in it or admire it as an objet d'art. For the first time, I felt I truly understood those "The Bathroom as Still Life" magazine advertisements I've been seeing for years.
The nicest thing about the accommodations was that there was a little wet bar right outside my bedroom door, with a coffee maker built into the wall and a pull out refrigerator stocked with every kind of soda pop, fruit juice and bottled water known to this world and maybe even the next. Darling Susie even remembered to get soy milk for Lily and half-and-half for me and Coke for Carol and the next morning, when I stepped outside my room to press the On button, sniffing the aroma of early coffee a few minutes later, I was filled with bliss. Bliss!
More tomorrow about Miss Susie's Wild Ride (golf course tour) and the filet mignon so beautiful, so tender that I wasn't sure whether I should eat it or marry it.
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