The Goddess Speaks

By Leslie Lang

Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Cool women friends
find time to connect

WE first got together some years back, when I sent an e-mail announcing the first annual "Cool Women Friends" week at the beach house.

I invited lots of neat women whom I consider Cool Women Friends; not only the ones I see often, but also some who live far away. Two far-off friends regretfully declined, but seven of us gathered in Kona for a week-long vacation at the beach.

We sat in the sun, snorkeled with turtles and read books under the big blue umbrella on the lanai where we watched whales and dolphins. We talked and strengthened our friendships (and watched those who hadn't met before become friends) and ate good food. We listened to each other's joys and dreams and troubles, and cheered each other on. Sometimes we took naps, and without discussing it, we didn't once turn on the television. It was a luxurious and relaxing week.

When we lazily went into town, one woman was the banker. At the start of the week, we each handed her an equal amount of money. When we bought groceries or went out to eat, she paid the bill from our stash. When it got low, we added more. The week was hassle-free.

Not just anyone can be a Cool Woman Friend. Cool Women Friends have interesting, rich lives, and they know each other's hopes and problems and goals. They are dependable, consistent and trustworthy friends. They listen and think and care, and they're in it for the long term. I feel fortunate to have such wonderful friends; they enrich my life. I feel sorry for women without them.

We are a diverse group, we Cool Women Friends, ranging in age from late 20s to early-50s. We all have other friends, too, and work and families and lives that keep us busy. But every six months or so, someone calls a Cool Women Friends' lunch or dinner or weekend, and we somehow manage to find time to get together.

WE'VE supported each other through two university graduations, a first grandchild, my move to the Big Island and another Cool Woman's move to the west coast. We've taken trips together. When the grandmother I lived with passed away, the rest of my Cool Women Friends flew to Hilo for the funeral.

One day last year we had brunch at the Hau Tree Lanai, and Dawn told us she was preparing for the 1999 Miss Aloha Hula competition at the Merrie Monarch. So when she danced solo in the Hilo hula festival this year, all the Cool Women Friends were there to cheer. We clapped the loudest when she was announced a finalist in the competition.

It was a zoo at my house, with Cool Women Friends staying over the long Merrie Monarch weekend. My brother told someone, "There are even people sleeping on the dog beds!," although that was an exaggeration.

The other day I met someone who is clearly Cool Woman Friend material. She was the friend of a friend, and we invited her over for dinner. We bonded on the phone while I gave her directions, joking and laughing like we'd known each other for years. When she arrived, she said, "You told me I'd hear the dogs barking, so I brought some dog treats." She was smart and interesting and funny and sincere. When she left, we hugged and told each other, "I'm so glad we met."

There's always room for more dear friends in my life. It's about time for another Cool Women Friends' week at the beach house.

Leslie Lang is a Big Island free-lance writer.

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