Rub-a-dub-dub; three sisters in the tub, hot tub, that is. A dream I've nursed for ages was realized on a recent September weekend. Many's the time while at our beloved Springs, I've thought it would be great to have my two sisters with us. I kept this idea simmering on the back burner of my mind for a long time. This past spring I brought it to the forefront and mailed a formal invitation to my two very dear big sisters to join us for an overnight trip to our most special, favorite place on Earth.
My second oldest sister emailed back with an immediate, emphatic "I'm in", followed by "why not two nights?" My older sister was a bit more reluctant to accept. For many years now she has had family obligations which have kept her from venturing too far from home. This is the sister who has accompanied us in the past for the occasional day trip to the Springs. After some gentle cajoling (because we knew she really wanted to join us) and reassurance that other adult family members living at home currently could hold down the fort for a day or two, she accepted as well. So much to do; much time to plan. My husband has perfected master planning and list making to an art form. It's his favorite medium, his hobby. To his credit, we never lack for anything once we arrive. We picked a date in mid September, fully confident that northern California would deliver perfect late summer weather.
After almost half a year of sweet anticipation, our long awaited weekend came to pass. Disrobing and sharing warm to cold mineral waters, steam baths and saunas with one's family members may seem strange. However, we've been married for 33 plus years and my sisters have known my husband even longer. Once ensconced in the safe haven of this magical place, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. And it was. I made it quite clear from the get go that the Springs is a clothing optional place. Oldest sister, Carole, was a seasoned pro having gone with us before.
Middle sister, Pat, the novice, joined right in, she being an adventurous spirit and always at the ready to try new things. No place on earth is safer and more comfortable to do such a thing.
We had the time of our lives. We sisters love each other dearly and enjoy each other's company like no one else's. Talk about a pampered, catered weekend! My husband planned each meal, each menu and brought them all to culinary perfection for us all. I helped as prep cook, sous chef, whatever...and together, we wined and dined our beautiful, beloved sisters (in-law) to perfection. We stayed in our usual cottage number 12 which houses a stove, refrigerator, sink and counterspace and an eclectic conglomeration of pots and pans and utensils. Anything not found here, a quick trip down to the large community kitchen will remedy. Number 12 connects to a smaller room with a lavatory in between to share. We had our sleeping space, the sisters had theirs. Perfect. We rounded up two extra chairs, pulled our little round dining table out and made room for the four of us for mealtimes and general partying, the latter of which we did a lot!
When I sent the initial invitations, I also made it perfectly clear that one could have lots of privacy, go off by themselves to a quiet spot, soak in a private tub, etc. It's nice to know this is an option but I wasn't too surprised when it turned out that we four spent the majority of our time soaking, steaming and sweating (sauna) in close proximity to each other. We love each other, of course, but we really like each other too. My older sister carries a lot of stress and worry around with her and we could actually see some of this baggage slip away from her face. My other sister never appears to be overly stressed; I believe she has her fair share as do we all but deals with it better. However, she also seemed to be much affected by the magic of the Springs. I could see a great sense of relaxation settle upon her as time went by as well.
As delightful as it is, one cannot spend 24 solid hours soaking her body in soothing water. I brought along a Scrabble game which came into play (!) several times a day. My older sister is an avid New York Times crossword puzzle fan (she's so good that she uses a pen) and having brought a book full of them, we other three took turns playing the kibitzer and completed several of them sucessfully. The time to pack up and leave came all too soon but I am sure this adventure will be preserved in our memories as one of the best weekends we've ever had in our lives. That's really saying something because between the four of us, we've had some great adventures. It is my husband's and my hope that we can do this again sometime; perhaps turn it into a yearly event. I already know that sister number two would say readily enough, "I'm in".
Please click on the following The Three Sisters link to see a picture of "The Three Graces" withthe cleanest nails west of the Rockies.
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