The Ultimate GDO

For almost thirty years,  I get together every few months with my “College Besties” for a Girls Day Out or GDO for short. For at least a decade, we have been meeting at the same Panera Bread restaurant. Conveniently located off the highway, this location is geographically located in the middle of our two furthest travelers.  Due to COVID, it has officially been over a year since we have all been together, but I can recall our experiences as if we just met yesterday.

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Typically, we meet around 10:00am at our table in the corner of the restaurant.  Yes, you read that correctly; “our table”.  We sit at the same table every time.  Lord help the family or group that is already sitting there when the first one of us arrives.  She will typically do one of two things: 

  1. Sit at a nearby table and politely asks the people if we can have their table when they are finished.  
  2. Or worse, she will keep looking over at them, readying herself to pounce on the table as soon as it becomes vacant.  

(I share this experience with you in the third person because being early is not a trait that I posses.  By the time I get there, the table is secured and ready for the six of us to commence our ritual).

And it is a ritual.  We begin with the usual conversations inquiring how each of us are doing personally.  After about 30 minutes of this, one of us reminds the others that we should probably order something.  

So, we order breakfast.  

Then the conversation shifts to catching up on the latest about each other’s families.  How are your husbands, children, parents, pets, in-laws…?

Clean up from breakfast.

Inevitably, work topics now weave their way into our conversations. Since three of the six of us are teachers,  there is always something that we can talk about.  The other three have listened to so many teacher stories, they have now acquired the jargon and use it appropriately in their questions and comments. 

Refill our coffee cups.

Now is about the time that we get to the juicy stuff.  You know, the stuff that has each one of us at the edge of our seats with anticipation.  It is usually the latest gossip that we can only share with each other because anyone else might judge us!

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Order lunch from the app on our phones so we don’t miss any of the conversation.

Our battle with middle-aged weight becomes the topic of conversation while we eat our salads and discuss how many Weight Watcher points we will have left over for dessert.  

Get up, walk to the bakery counter and choose a dessert.

While eating a cookie, we begin to discuss our ailments.  This hurts, that needs to be operated on, I am going to PT for this, etc.  

Order a cup of tea.

Our closing conversations almost always include reminiscing about our glory days.  

“Do you remember that time when…” 

“I can’t believe we did that…” 

“Thank God there wasn’t Facebook then…”

Now it is time for dinner and we do not want to overstay our welcome at Panera Bread, so we discuss where we should go for dinner...  

What are some of the ways you stay connected with your childhood or College friends? Do you share similar conversations with your longtime friends? Do you save WW points for dessert too?

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10 replies »

  1. Love this! I treasure my time with my college roommates! We share so many memories and have been together through marriages, births, new jobs and divorces. Our memories includes girls weekends and family cookouts and our kids have grown up together. The last year we have shared zoom cocktail hours ( which go all night). Despite the physical presence, I know these girls are always a call or a text away.
    Thanks for the story Julie! It reminded me of so many memories and made me smile!
    Go Owls! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You crafted this so well! The reader catches on pretty quickly but still looks forward with a laugh to the bolder passages, and we wonder, just how long are they going to stay there?
    I envy you your GDO routine- 30 years!!! I hope you have been having some online substitute but I know you long to be in person again. Thanks for a fun reminiscence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. COVID has impacted so many routines in our lives. Something tells me this routine will pick back up when the time is right without stress or strain. You captured the details of the day so well, it could be packaged for others planning a college reunion!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love spending some time with you and your pals! And eating the way through the day. Wait, where did you go for dinner? This makes me want to schedule a Zoom call with my pals (we’re scattered far and wide) to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is so important to stay connected to people. I love that you have such solid and fun rituals! Have you begun having Zoom get togethers? My book club made the switch and it is not too bad!

    Liked by 1 person

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