Girls just wanna have fun — at least twice a year

J. H. Osborne • Nov 10, 2019 at 3:30 PM

I have forgotten a lot of what I learned in high school. Once in a while, little facts come crashing back. It happened just the other day.

Sometimes, girls just wanna have fun. Without the guys. Without the kids.

Back in high school (Dobyns-Bennett, Class of 1981), if you were a guy not lucky enough to be where the girls were, the best you could hope for would be to receive a prank call from a slumber party.

Why did this old bit of data come to mind on Friday? It’s “girls’ weekend” for a stellar group from the Dobyns-Bennett High School Class of ’80. They’ve been laid up in a cabin in Gatlinburg since Friday afternoon. And as I tried to work on an article about jail overcrowding, I got a call from Vicki Cooper Trammell and Angelette Lambert Richardson as they were headed out of town. I had forgotten this was their fall girls’ weekend. They do one in the spring, too, to Hilton Head.

I asked Vicki who was driving and she said Angelette. I asked what they were going to order when they got to South of the Border. In case you’ve never, ever driven to Myrtle Beach from Kingsport, that’s a large roadside tourist attraction almost more famous for its billboards than for anything on site once you get there. It’s off Interstate 95 at the state line dividing the two Carolinas.

It is not on the way to or from Hilton Head — unless Angelette is driving and Vicki is riding shotgun, and they’re not reading road signs or using GPS (probably making prank phone calls to boys from high school, is my guess). So, yes, that happened once. I wasn’t there, but hearing them tell the tale is still funny. And I probably bring it up too much. And maybe that’s why when I asked who was driving ... and then what are you going to get at South of the Border, I heard Angelette shout, “Margaritas, book thief!”

I did not steal Angelette’s copy of “The Last Castle,” which tells the story of Biltmore. She practically forced it into my hands a year ago this month as I was leaving a get-together at her and husband Max’s home. She explained she was a strict librarian and would hunt down anyone who didn’t return a book. It is a wonderful book, by the way. I read it in about two nights. And then I put it in the stack of books on my bedside table. I swear I didn’t get it wet. But when Angelette inquired about it a few months later, I noticed the pages in the front half are wavy, as if waterlogged and dried. I took a picture and texted her ... was it this way when I got it from you? The only answer I got: I obviously do my reading in the bathtub, probably bubble-filled. Now, I ask you, look at me and look at Angelette and tell me who you think looks more likely to read books in a bubble bath.

While we’re talking about books, and girls’ weekends, and Thelma and Louise ... I mean Angelette and Vicki, here’s a good one. One fateful trip someone suggested bringing their high school yearbooks. And some did. And then someone thought it would be fun to take turns reading aloud from their classmates’ inscriptions. And eventually someone said, “Oh, here’s what Vicki wrote in mine” and began to read. Right smack in the middle of an otherwise nice, wholesome note, the reader hit a short list of other girls’ names that Vicki had followed with “those @4*&%!!” (I can’t print the word, but you get the idea). And the last name on that list? Angelette. For a minute it looked like Vicki might be hitchhiking to South of the Border. No, really, they all burst into laughter, including Angelette. It took her and Vicki all of two seconds to figure out Vicki’s long ago, short-lived ire was over some boy. And neither of them had prank called him since before that annual came out.

This particular group began their regular girls’ weekend road trips five years ago, after a couple of them had undergone surgeries. Vicki credits Kathy Clark Houser as their “cruise director,” making all the plans and arrangements. The others along on the Gatlinburg trip this weekend were: Leigh Sobel, Susan Olterman, Teresa Bledsoe, Cathy and Laura Morrisette, Caroline Stevens, Michelle Pleasant, Vanessa Still, Carla Vest, Susan Golden, Angela Fish, and Kathy Babb.

I understand their enjoyment of Gatlinburg this time of year. My family really enjoys going in what some might think is the “off season” because of the colder weather. But we like all the inside attractions up and down the main drag. Did you know you can ride a glass-bottomed boat in Gatlinburg in the dead of winter? I’m going to tell you more about that next week.

J.H. Osborne covers Sullivan County government for the Times News. Email him at [email protected].

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