Hmmm... I went to a quilters and scrapbookers retreat this weekend. But according to Webster, I wonder why we call it that. We do withdraw...but not from danger. As a group we withdraw from the duties, responsibilities, and loved ones in our lives that interrupt our pursuit of our creative hobbies and make accomplishing things difficult. As for it being a safe, quiet place. Well, let's just say it's very safe. We go to the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, GA. They have a huge, wonderful facility on 6,400 acres of natural wooded beauty. They have motel-style rooms and a large conference room where we can set up tables, ironing boards, a huge food spread and still have plenty of room to spread out and work. The quiet part of this definition, however, doesn't quite fit. There is no TV reception out there, but they have a big-screen TV that we can play DVDs on. We also bring our portable music and I'm still singing all the songs from Mama Mia in my head today. Definition 3 doesn't quite fit, either. Rather than it being a period of seclusion, we invite lots of good friends. This time 20 of us "retreated" to this wilderness together.
There were a few special things about the relationships of the group this time. Jodi and I almost always are there together. Me with my quilting friends, and her with her scrapbooking buddies. This time a good friend and one of the Batty Babes, Liz, who hasn't been to one of these in a very long time not only came along, but brought her daughter, Ellen, who is a scrapbooker, too. So we had two mother-daughter pairs. What's more fun than spending your weekend with your friends AND one of your grown daughters? Well...maybe the answer to that is spending it with a sister who is also a good friend. Another of the Batty Babes, Deanna, retired and moved to Charlotte, NC last year. She comes down to visit often and especially when we have something like this going on. This time she brought along a very good friend, Ilona, who also happens to be one of her sisters. Ilona lives in Columbia, SC, so they met up along the way and rode down together. We all enjoyed meeting Ilona and having her with us.
We were also glad to share some part of the weekend with a very good friend that most of us hadn't seen in a long while. Becky has been a nurturing care-giver for her husband, Robert, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for the past two years or so. He lost his gallant fight quite recently and went home to heaven...so she was able to come and share the love of good friends and the soul-nourishing time for creativity.
But you can never find a time that meets everybody's schedule, so we missed a couple of the "regulars". Ardis never misses, but she was off on a great anniversary trip with her husband. And Pam was able to only squeeze out a couple of hours from a weekend filled with working and caring for her mother who is having some health problems. All in all, I would have to say that I agree with most everyone who said, "This was the best one yet! When can we do it again?"