Dateline: Mohonk Mountain House

I did something last weekend that few would have the courage to undertake: I spent two days with five girlfriends from high school. Some of us have been in touch consistently in the last – gulp – 30 years. Others have not. But when we saw each other at a reunion last October, it inspired a raucous wine-soaked dinner a few months later, followed by a plan for a spa weekend. I certainly didn’t think about the fact that we organized this adventure for a weekend in February during the most frigid winter in recent memory.

So, off we sailed. It was a whirlwind of massages, jacuzzi dunks,  and stories. Stories of old boyfriends, first kisses, teachers both beloved and not so, kids and dogs. And that was just the first day. I crawled into bed that night, exhausted and happy, ready for a delicious rest.

Then the wind began.

At first, I thought, “Oh, Hot Pants! How wonderfully wintery this is, snuggled under the covers, with one friend at the other end of the suite and another in the adjacent pull-out.” That was at 12 midnight.

At 2:30, it wasn’t so wonderful. The wind was still howling, so hard and so forcefully that it was coming through cracks in the window – and so help me God, rattling my bed. It was at this point that I  began to think about the scariest movie ever,  “The Exorcist,” a movie I first saw with our brother Andy that terrified me so much I watched most of it from his lap – and we were in high school at the time. I also thought about what my friend Holly had said earlier that day – that Mohonk was haunted. 

Of course, in the dead of night, that was all I needed to think about to set off a full-fledged fear spiral. The devil, I knew, was going to come and take over my body and soul. Himself would have to google Max Von Sydow and hire him to come and cast Satan out of my being, even though I’m Jewish. (How much would it cost? I wondered in a side note.) If I wasn’t being possessed, then a ghost (probably someone who had been deeply unhappy with the selection at the brunch buffet) was shaking the bed. Either way, I was terrified. I wondered what Kathy, who was in the pull-out, was thinking. Had the ghosts gotten her, too? If I looked over at her, would her eyes be electric red and rolling around in their sockets?

Suddenly I heard movement. It was Kathy, getting up. “Are you okay?” I squeaked.

“I AM FREAKING OUT!” Kathy said. Thank God, it still sounded like her. I don’t think she was afraid of ghosts or the devil; it was more that she was tired and the wind was keeping her up, too. Eventually, the two of us got back to bed. We each got about 15 minutes of sleep, but that’s ok.

There’s a plan afoot to make this an annual event. That’s fine with me, as long as it’s somewhere else and not in the middle of winter. My nerves can’t handle it.


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