Every few months or so I have a Retreat at our country house in central Utah. Many of my good friends -and students who have become good friends -attend for the four day weekend. Our house is an old Victorian farmhouse in a very small village (yes we have village sized towns in Utah, plus it is a very chi chi way of describing a small backwater) of about 800 people. The house is just big enough for about 22 people if we squish. For the entire four days we spin and laugh, knit and laugh, eat and laugh, gather and talk and laugh till our sides hurt. Conversation flows and rides a thousand topic waves, we never tire of our fiber in hand. I am very fortunate to have so many friends that share my love of fiber, twirl and weave. Becoming a teacher has enriched my life in so many ways but my favorite bit of bliss are the friends I have made while teaching. Quite a few students have become dear friends and are some of the people that come for Retreat. I am particularly fond of our Retreats, it gives me carte blanche to spin and knit as much as I can in those days. Spinning gets put by the wayside with all the work that I do in the shop. Retreat is guilt free fiber time, and I can get mighty greedy.
The Great Cleansing Retreat started auspiciously on Thursday morning. By evening we all were in the grips of an insidious food poisoning. I have a very delicate digestion , and it is this that my very good friend (who is also delicate in the lower regions) Jo-ann says did save me. After eating the thoughtful and well prepared meal (which is always a shared potluck) I felt woozy and decidedly sick. In an hour it was all over. I had had my Armageddon and even felt like I would live to see another day. For that hour I was tormented by the horrific sounds I was making and the thoughts that every one would “know” that I had become ill. Not a polite thing for the hostess to do, I imagined.
It was not until going downstairs, first thing in the morning, and hearing everyone else's Armageddon story that I realized we all had been ravaged by that most awful scourge of gatherings; food poisoning.
About 2 am it started and it struck at each and every person who had eaten the meal. Even with all the illness, and I could go on about the lines at both bathroom doors and the camaraderie that develops when someones sleeping head is feet away from a very busy bathroom, ( Sorry Jane!) and kudos to Cyndi who had slept in her van and inadvertently became locked out and had the great outdoors as her privy until someone heard her pathetic and light scratchings to get in, we had one of the funnest Retreats ever. Laughter was not in short supply and if one was careful about how hard one laughed, all was well. I am sure most of us lost pounds, food was eaten but carefully.
I convinced my friends to share in a group portrait, eliminating those that arrived Friday, missing all the fun of the night before and the one fellow (Hi lucky Mike!) who did not eat the dinner and so did not join us. We wave our banners bravely!