Dear friendly reader,
This past weekend my book club did its annual vacation. There are seven of us women — a fishery biologist, a retired accountant turned full-time poet, an attorney, a bookseller/novelist, a preacher’s wife who also runs a motorcycle leather shop, and two journalists. We are moms and wives, grandmothers and professionals. We are readers and writers, quilters and runners. We are the Betties.
(It’s a long, funny story that earned us that name. But some things that happen in book club, stay in book club.)
We first met about eight years ago to read and discuss Unless by Carol Shields. And we have met nearly every month since. During those years, we have discussed Candide and To Kill a Mockingbird, As I Lay Dying and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. During National Poetry Month, we read poems. Once a year, we read a children’s book and invite our daughters and sons.
Over the years, we have celebrated weddings and births, supported each other through hard times, and mourned deaths, including the passing of one of our own dear members. And, as we have shared our lives and our books, we have become more than just a book club. We have become what Anne of Green Gables describes as “kindred spirits.”
In past years on our annual retreat, we stayed in rustic, lake-side cabins and at deluxe ski resorts with spas. But this year we went to the home of one of our own, in what we call a “staycation.” A Betty husband chivalrously volunteered to go on an away trip so we could have the house, and outdoor sauna, all to ourselves.
We began with dinner at The Grape Tap, a lovely restaurant specializing in fine wine. We ate bacon-wrapped figs and sipped rich, multi-layered Cabarnets. Then, over the next two days, we hiked up a snowy butte, warmed up in the woodstove-heated sauna, laughed and made paper snowflakes, cooked crepes and scrambled eggs in the dark during a power outage, laughed some more, and debated the finer points of the graphic novel Feynman. We also began plotting our next Betty retreat — we are dreaming of a trip to California’s wine country.
Books, it seems, do bring people together.
P.S. Are any of you members of a book club?