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Ladies, laughs & the open road

There’s just something special about summertime.

While triple digit temps are not exactly this girl’s favorite, with the help of swimming pools, air conditioning and ice cold beverages it’s easily made tolerable.

Summertime memories are some of my all-time favorites, even as an adult. This year I’ve taken the time to make some plans beyond the usual. A getaway with my daughter, Vegas trip with some girlfriends and a road trip with another ride or die gal pal.

That special gal pal, Charlotte (known to most as Michelle or “Merky”) and I always have a good time, but when we seem to have the most fun is when we encounter strangers. Both outgoing and perhaps a bit chatty, neither of us shies away from engaging with others when out and about. A true frick and frack (aka opposites), we love turning strangers into friends.

Earlier this spring, she took a test run road trip with me as I needed to make a trip to the City for a doctor’s appointment, followed by an overnight stay on the coast. 

Excited to share a new favorite place to grab a bite, a beverage and an amazing view of the ocean with my travel companion, we quickly settled into a booth and picked some treats from the menu.

In came our new gal pals Alison, Yvonne, Liz and Nani, later known as the New Yorkers and the Scot. As the four women settled in to the booth next to us, Charlotte quickly jumped to their aid in snapping a group photo and of course sharing unsolicited information about us two gals.

Learning I was a writer, Nani inquired if I’d write about them, which made me chuckle in the moment yet by evening’s end became a commitment.

These four ladies were a hoot and a holler. Alison, the Scot now living on the coast, had spent her morning just as we had, at USCF with her husband who was also battling cancer. The Staten Island ladies (aka New Yorkers) Nani, Liz and Yvonne were doing the California vacation thing and visiting with Alison during their travels.

In truth our overall time together amounted to moments, yet the connection, joy and fun was infectious.

The fun time foursome was bowing out before Charlotte and myself, but stopped at the booth for one final chat. As they did we learned that three of the four of them had also been touched by cancer in some way. Yet here they were, giving us a pep talk, sharing their belief in my future as well as my strength. All while leaving with a friend who was hopeful her husband would be home in time for his birthday (and he was).

But here’s the real takeaway and what I love about meeting “strangers.” By the following morning, long before finishing my first cup of coffee, the six of us had found one another on social media and reconnected with fondness and admiration for our encounter.

Oh sure, I hear you in the back, social media has its ups and downs, yet for this story there’s only ups.

That day our paths crossed, had been long and tough on Charlotte and I. The booth we settled into offered a bit of reprieve and yes happiness and then entered the foursome. Three connected cousins, four irreplaceable friends, one memorable night.

What a treat those ladies were. What a blessing happy ladies can be to one another. Even amidst a storm, girlfriends – the good ones – always manage to help us find the sunshine and celebrate the good stuff. Here’s to rainbows, butterflies and ladies who live on laughter. And maybe a few sunsets, cold beverages and long open roads.