So, this took considerably longer than anticipated and it wasn’t all The Bachelor’s fault! What I realized was that I have an army of family and friends as cheerleaders in my life. I would just finish one letter when I would think of someone else I wanted to express my love to. Aren’t I a lucky gal! I did manage to send them all out on February 14th, Valentines Day, except for to one group my infamous Bunko Group. The mere mention of this ever-evolving group of ladies always brings forth a sigh of resignation, for the carnage that follows this group, from my husband and lots of eye-rolling from my kids.
I moved to Atlanta in 2002 via Winnipeg, after that Calgary and last stop before Hotlanta, Nashville TN. I vividly remember the drive from Nashville to Atlanta I cried the entire way, snot dripping down my face, listening to the Dixie Chicks. I had two little kids and not one friend in Atlanta. Within a month or so of moving in a neighbor extended an invitation to join a Bunko group that was starting up. Bunko is a game played with six dice and adult beverages. There are only a few girls left (hahaha “girls” we are all in and around our fifties!) from that original group, Tracey Stapelton, Stephanie Reid, Sherry Ruschell.
To list all our escapades of the years would be impossible but here are some highlights. Once we jumped in the back of a truck with strangers in Helen while dressed in traditional German garb. On a scavenger hunt, we convinced strange men to give us their boxers, buy us drinks, and some very elderly gentlemen to dance with us. When I say dance, I mean they were holding us up as much as we were holding them up. We were a little unsteady on our feet and they were ancient, as we swayed to the weirdest Karaoke music ever! We also hired a stripper who read us Harry Potter and we ended up counseling on his life path. We all switched bras at dinner once, asked strangers if we could try their food, and once at a country bar one of us was asked to stop dancing on the table and a bouncer held my leg to stop me from getting on the stage.
And then there’s Christmas….every year I host a party where we all wear pajamas, eat pancakes, drink mimosas, play games, freeze dance, pass the present, dirty Santa and last year we had a piñata we hit with a roll of wrapping paper. I could go on and on about our unseemly and very unladylike behavior but my kids are reading this. This group has been there with me through it all so I thought it fitting to write an open letter to all the “Bunko” girls in my life, past and present.
To Tracey Stapelton, Stephanie Reid, Karen Hutto, Linda Kobel (our Queen), Sherry Ruschell, Mimi Stone, Beth Clark, Eileen Keeton, Jackie Krapf, Kathy Fulton, Johnette Wasko, Carla Czaja (who isn’t actually in our group but is a long time friend, and anyone else who was ever involved with this group of middle-aged lady delinquents.
Dear Bunko Babes,
It seems like we were babies when we started this journey, well, at least our kids were!. Through the years you have: Dried my tears when my marriage fell apart. Encouraged me when I was worried. Ratted out my kids when they needed to be. Enthusiastically participated in all my stupid games at parties including the dreaded affirmation circles. Rejoiced with me when I fell in love with and married Dennis. Brought me food when Dennis or I was sick or he was in the hospital. Packed my entire house, literally. Laughed with me for being, well, weird me. Prayed for me endlessly through many crises. Cried on me, let me cry on you, strangely enough, usually in the bathroom. Provided an example of what strong, beautiful women look like as they age with grace and dignity. You are my muses, my strength, and my sisters! They say you can’t make epic shit with basic people and we have had some very epic times because my friends are anything but basic. They are wonderfully complicated, loving Wives, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, masterpieces from our creator and most of all they are my friends.
Ladies, you have my undying devotion, support and, gratitude for being such a big part of my life. Now let’s crack open a bottle of wine and by the way, does anyone even know where the Bunko box is???
Your Dharma xoxoxo