I've been in this airport-security line for 45 minutes, my plane leaves at 7:30 a.m. and the three-generation-strong family in front of...

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I’ve been in this airport-security line for 45 minutes, my plane leaves at 7:30 a.m. and the three-generation-strong family in front of me just broke out their passports.

Drastic times. My Babes are waiting.

“Excuse me, but would it be OK if I go in front of your group? My plane leaves — really — in 12 minutes.”

So I take cuts. On the put-your-shoes-back-on side of the detector, it’s 7:23.

So I run. And when I get on the plane, they close the door behind me. Really.

What’s the cause of this queue-jumping and airport-dashing? Ten women I’ve known for about a decade, a 600-square-foot cabin in the Arizona mountains and enough wine to slosh a wedding party.

And don’t forget the prom dresses.

Babes in the Woods, an annual celebration dreamed up by my friend Dana in 1997, is nothing more than a girls weekend, without the hotel and shopping. It’s silly and frivolous — along with dressing up in second-hand formalwear (we can’t spend more than 20 bucks a frock), our big activities are painting our toenails and a wicked marshmallow fight.

But Big News comes out here on Big Bug Creek. This is where pregnancies, and miscarriages, have been announced. Where Lori, the paralegal, told us she was going to finish college and then law school, and became Lori the lawyer. Where three of us confessed that we were moving out of state. Where Paula told us her mother was fighting cancer. Where we hugged Debbie after her mother died. Where this year, I cried tears I’d held in for a month after Nathan, my little brother, died of kidney cancer in July.

So we cry. We also talk a lot. Politics. Sex. Breast-milk pumps. Wedding florists. Jerk bosses. Long-distance relationships.

We take dozens of pictures of each other. Candids, then posing in our prom-dress finery, vampy and sexy, goofy or playful and, yes, sometimes even butt- and breast-baring. (Those don’t go on the annual Babes calendar!)

We go for a run or a hike in the mountain air that smells like crushed pine needles. We pick apples in the nearby orchard and eat them on the walk back. We negotiate the prickle bushes to gather tubs of blackberries so Marjorie can bake a crumble back at the cabin.

We sleep. I prefer a camping bag on the open night air of the back deck, where Marjorie’s light snoring and the soft percussion of the creek create my Babes’ nocturnal soundtrack.

How did we come together? We were the wives or girlfriends of some guys who played soccer together, plus some volleyball pals with a few longtime FODs (Friends of Dana) thrown in. Over the years girlfriends became wives, and some wives became exes; some of us became mothers, and others grandmothers. We’re at different life stages, in different tax brackets, of different races and, now, in three different states.

In fact, our one constant is Babes in the Woods itself. And the fact that every one of us would dash through an airport and cut in line to be there.

Raina Wagner: rwagner@seattletimes.com