"The Ladybugs" by Deb Zarek
August 1, 2007
Last month we asked for your stories about how ladybugs have played a role in your life. The following was submitted by Deb Zarek–and we have chosen her to receive the prize of a 10% discount on her next order. There were many other great stories sent to us. Here is Deb’s story:
“We are a group of seven women who get together for a ‘girls only’ annual campout weekend. This year (2007) is our 14-year anniversary! We travel from all over (Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas) and stay at the same location each year in Onawa, Iowa. The park is called Lewis & Clark, named for the famous explorers of course. This particular park has replicas of the keelboats used by the original expedition and draws history buffs from all over the country.
The group was started by co-workers who became friends and discovered a shared love of camping. Two became four, four became six, etc. Friends of friends were invited and the group grew to a size of eight. We lost one of our members a few years ago, and now are seven. We range in age from mid-30s to late-40s, and all but two of us are currently married. We’re all professionals with hectic schedules and demanding careers. Together, we have 14 children and 3 grandchildren! Three of our members became grandmas in the last year. We are fiercely loyal to each other, and better friends you won’t find anywhere. The original motto of the group was “No Men, No Kids, No Hassles!”
We got our name “The Ladybugs” from a group of senior campers who also frequent the park. They essentially adopted us one weekend and fed us fresh-baked brownies and other wonderful treats. As we were riding by their campsite on bicycles one afternoon, one of the ladies called out “oh, there go those cute little ladybugs again.'” And so it began…We accepted that moniker with great enthusiasm and soon everyone was collecting everything ‘ladybug.’ We have banners, flags, T-shirts, shorts, shoes, socks, candles, towels, chairs, lamps, mugs, napkins, tissues, rugs, tableware, etc. even a ladybug-shaped BBQ grill! Friends and family have been giving us unique ladybug gifts for the past 14 years.
We all have ‘ladybug’ nicknames. There’s Go Go Bug, Weather Bug, Flashing Bug, Bar Bug, Naughty Bug, Dancing Bug, and Leaky Bug. Each of the bugs ‘earned’ her name for a variety of reasons. You can use your imagination on this! A couple of the senior campers who gave us our name have become Mama and Papa Bug and they try to join us for our weekend whenever they can.
We also have a ‘secret bug’ where we draw names out of a (Ladybug-shaped) basket and send anonymous gifts several times each year. The secret is revealed at our awards ceremony held on the Saturday night of ladybug weekend each year. The awards ceremony is a whole story unto itself…suffice it to say it is amazingly creative and exceedingly entertaining!
There are lots of other rituals we have. “Theme Night,” “Sponsor a Movie,” “Keelboat Sailing Demonstration,” and “The Walk” are just to name a few. Like the awards ceremony, each of these has its own story, which I won’t elaborate on for now. At this year’s gathering, we’ll plan our special 15-year anniversary celebration for next year. Our annual weekend is very special to each one of us and one we look forward to with great anticipation. We are such great friends that we can pick up where we left off and get caught up on each others’ lives in a very short period of time. There are lots of stories to tell–some involve tears–but many more involve laughter and warm memories.
Thanks for sticking with me for this long diatribe. Your website asked customers to share why the ladybug is a special symbol to them. These women are why the ladybug is so important to me.”