Monday, August 2, 2010

The Real Housewives of the 3Day: Day 1 Scene 1

In order for me to share the best of my 3Day with all of you, I have once again, broken it down into several parts.  Here is the first installment of The Real Housewives of the 3Day:
For me, the 3Day actually started on Thursday not Friday when I had to travel down to Framingham to participate in rehearsal for Opening Ceremonies, in which I was to be a flag bearer.  I had to be there at 3:45, so I decided to have lunch with former TWP, Sarah, who completed the walk with me in 2008.  We had an enjoyable time catching up and visiting with another friend from work, Carolyn.  At 3 o'clock I left to head over to Farm Pond where the ceremonies were being held.  Upon arriving I was shocked at how many people were there.  I knew that it was Crew Day, and there were a lot of crew, but I never expected to not be able to find a parking space.  After parking a good distance away, I followed the route over to the stage, reflecting on last year when I walked this same path during the middle of a nor'easter.  The weather was perfect on Thursday.  It was about 80, and there was a beautiful breeze.  I could only hope that the weekend would be just as perfect.

Arriving at the stage, I was greeted by other flag bearers.  They then separated us into groups, with me being placed in the Survivor Circle.  It was here that I met Dina, a young survivor from Andover.  Dina was the captain of Second Wind, another small team that raised a lot of money.  The funny thing is that I had heard of Dina because she and Patty had a mutual friend.  The eight of us women chatted and shared our 3Day experiences.  There were only 2 of these women who had never walked before.  After practicing with our flags, we were finished and were told we could be on our way.  On my way out, I gave a quick wave to Dylan and Alexa who were at Crew Day for Youth Corp.

As I got onto the Pike, I gave Kaitlyn a call to let her know that I was stuck in traffic.  I was on my way to pick her up, so that she could take the party bus with us to Opening Ceremonies.  Mind you, Kaitlyn lives in Waltham, about 20 minutes from Framingham, but she agreed to get up at 3:00AM, so she could be part of the team.  What a good sport!

I arrived at Kaitlyn's house, she said goodbye to her family, and we were on our way.  After we arrived home, we grabbed a quick salad, made sure that we had packed everything, relaxed for a few, and then went to bed a little later than we had expected--10:30.  Much too late when you are getting up before dawn.

Of course, I didn't sleep well.  Do you ever when you have some big event happening?  3AM, came much too quickly.  We threw our clothes on, and were just putting our sneakers on when Patty pulled into the driveway.  We grabbed our gear and were off to Cheryl's where the party bus was meeting us.

As we turned down Cheryl's long driveway, we saw several cars, the awesome party bus, and yep, the film crew!  They must have gotten there around 3!  Patty parked the car, and we headed over to the bus.  Immediately the cameras were on us.  It was blinding, the light was so bright.  As we got on to the bus, I knew this would be a weekend that I would never forget.  We started talking, laughing, and eating macaroons.  Paul, CJ, and Jarrod had become part of our team.  It was like the cameras were not even there.

We arrived in Framingham at O'Dark:30, which is 3Day time for Opening Ceremonies.  The sun was just coming up, and I knew it was going to be a good day.  Dylan was there to load up our gear, and Alexa was further down waiting for us, with beads in hand.  Something that you may not know about the 3Day, is that all along the route, supporters give out Mardi Gras beads, stickers, and pins.  You wear them, or place them on your lanyard, and by the end of the walk, you look like you belong in New Orleans.

As we walked over to Farm Pond, we stopped in at the tent which held the Opening Ceremonies flag.  It was a long piece of rope with hundreds of small strips hanging off of it, almost like miniature banners.  It was here that we waited as Patty wrote her mom's name down, and we wrote the names of those who are meaningful to us.  From there, we took a few photos and waited for our journey to begin.

Right before I had to go behind the stage for Opening Ceremonies, my friend Gail showed up.  Gail has seen me through all stages of my life in recent years.  During the 3Day she became affectionately known as the "macaroon lady" because she makes the best chocolate chip macaroons, and was kind enough to make some for the team.  Her parents reside in Framingham, and she decided to come over to see me, Theresa, and Gretchen off.  It meant the world to me to have her there.

While I was waiting back stage, who comes up with a pink swim noodle decorated with TWP all over it, but Tracy!  Seeing her there brought back all the memories of last year, the torrential rain, and all.  It was bittersweet.  I was thrilled that she was there, but so sad that she was not walking.  We spent a few minutes chatting, and then it was time for the Ceremonies to begin.

Being a flag bearer was indescribable, as was most of the walk this year.  I was given the "love" flag to carry and couldn't have been happier.  As I walked across the stage, and up to the Survivor Circle, I looked to my left, and there were all of my teammates, most of them with tears streaming down their faces.  Wow!  The feeling of admiration I have for these nine women just washed over me.  As I stood in the circle looking down at them, I just wanted to scream, "Thank you!  You have made me a better person, and have made the world a better place!"  I know it sounds corny and cliche, but to me it was so true.  When I walked off the stage, I headed onto the street to wait for my team.  Once again, there was Tracy waiting to cheer me on--a true friend.

I was thrilled when I saw my team dancing along the path leading up to where I was.  We immediately hugged and were on our way--3 days, 60 miles.

When we first started this journey, we made a conscious decision to walk as a team--no woman left behind.  We knew that this would often be challenging for us, but it was so important.  That was what made this year so powerful to me.  It is so rare to have 10 women get along so well, and support each other in every way possible.  That is exactly what we did.

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