So stop me if you have heard this one...
Actually, jk, you can't stop me. Too bad so sad.
Although I suppose you could just navigate somewhere else...
Well for those of you who have heard or read this before, consider this my official apology for repeating myself. Otherwise, enjoy.
Last weekend was the 11th Annual Here's To Good Friends Weekend, held every year at my family's camp on the last weekend of July.
Now some of you family friends and relatives might be saying, wait a minute, I've been to one of those events before. And you'd be right. Sort of.
Once upon a time, 1981, my parents were moving away from a great group of friends in the Derry, NH area who they knew they were going to miss dearly. It was only to Rhode Island, not too bad really, but keep in mind that this was before the days of cell phones, email, internet, etc. Moving an hour or 2 away was a lot. And so they decided they needed to have a bit of a going away party...
Lasagna & Lowenbrau. Lowenbrau was (still is??) apparently a type of beer, which happened to roll off the tongue nicely with the word Lasagna. Lasagna, of course, is delicious. Instant party. Plus, the slogan/promotion at the time for Lowenbrau was, "Here's To Good Friends". And with that, the first of many Here's To Good Friends gatherings were held. A year in Rhode Island and several in Topsham, ME later, the annual reunion had picked up some steam. Here's To Good Friends was then moved permanently here to Camp and became a weeklong event of lobster, watersports, catching up with old friends, and general revelry. There were years of torrential downpours, Olympic style events involving the kids diving for rocks covered in tin foil, bee attacks, and many other memorable happenings. Uncle Mike inspired awe in us all by putting live lobsters to sleep and standing them on their heads in a row on the table. We’d be woken up at ludicrous times in the morning by Uncle Carl proclaiming that the lake was “like glass”, indicating it was time to do some barefoot skiing. That’s right. Barefoot.
But sadly, after 12 great years, everyone’s kids were getting into middle and high school sports, travel teams, camps, etc. A week or even weekend of common free time couldn’t be found, and the grand string of Here’s To Good Friends was over.
But not to fear! The spirit of the event lived on and, in the summer of 2000, I decided it was time to pick up the mantle.
A recent high school graduate who was preparing to head to Virginia for college that fall, I was already realizing how much I would miss all of my friends. But really, I’d be seeing them each summer and various breaks, so originally I began holding Here’s To Good Friends as an excuse for my Kennebunk friends and I to go have a some fun out of town for a change. That first year we had 5 people go, and my mother. And it rained, literally, the entire weekend. But we persevered, and soon we were getting 16 to 20 people attending each year. As well as better weather, sometimes…
So it began as an escape from Kennebunk, but as people started to move out of town, we started to realize the real value of what we were doing. Folks moved only a town or two away, not far, but enough. I moved to Virginia, really far. Soon our Here’s To Good Friends camp weekend had become a reunion. A time when we all could escape from our normal lives and spend several days relaxing, swimming, gaming, reminiscing by the campfire, and generally just catching up on each other’s lives. Along the way we have lost some friends, but have gained others. At first it was boyfriends and girlfriends, then fiancées, now spouses, and possibly in the not too distant future… Kids. Gasp!!
So as I said, last weekend was the 11th Annual Here’s To Good Friends weekend. This year was a throwback to the old days of roughing it with no house or creature comforts. Just tents, canopies, a grill, a fire, and the lake. And the weather treated us kindly, at least for two for the three days. But, as always, it was great to see everyone again and catch up on the latest life events, gossip, etc. Someday I’d imagine we’ll all being having kids who have travel games or camps or whatever else taking up their time. But, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there… For now, I think, we all are perfectly content to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment. No worries.
Next year will be our 12th year of Here’s To Good Friends. I’m already excited for it! There will be a finished house with running water, heat, etc. I’ll still be showering in the lake of course!
Wouldn’t it be fitting if all the characters from the original Here’s To Good Friends were able to get together sometime next year here as well?? Now free of kids, it might just be time to bring back some of the good old days! We'll prepare the Lasanga, anybody think they can rustle up some cases of vintage Lowenbrau??