A Most Lovely Two Lake Days

Day 1

My oldest was baptized with three others this Sunday in a lake near our church. I can’t imagine it having been a more special occasion, especially as my parents were able to join us for the after-church potluck, and then “Grandpa” (my dad) got to wade into the deeps with my daughter and baptize her. Pretty special! The wind came up which increased the waves, and just as they were done, it really started to rain. The joys of outdoor baptisms, really! It’s as close to a John-the-Baptist-like setting as we can get!

Day 2

We spent Monday at a privately owned lake, summering in sunshine and playing from morning till dark.

Our friends who own this lake are the big-hearted kind, always inviting us to join in their huge lake parties and luaus, treating us and our girls like treasured family in a most humbling way. A cabin surrounded by the lushest green lawn welcomes us, as does the biggest sandpile ever—taller than the children and with a wading pool of fresh water in its midst. Sprinklers, fed by lake water, are everywhere for sprinting fun. Jet ski and tube bob at the end of the boat dock. The wind blows frothy-white waves from the far blue side to ours, and big bales of prairie hay dot the never-ending hills surrounding us.

Our hostess has plenty of water shoes, life jackets and sunscreen. She has a freezer full of ice cream and popsicles, and a refrigerator full of pop, water bottles and juice pouches. The front half of the cabin is fully screen-enclosed, and filled with cushy porch swings and lawn furniture arranged around glass-topped tables. The deck floor, hose-washed after each gathering, welcomes dripping yellow Lab and sand-covered children alike.

My friend’s parents are visiting from Arizona, along with their grandson, and Grandma Maude takes to my children as if they’re her own. She’s in her seventies and full of riddles and other critical thinking puzzles. After a morning of tubing and sand castles, and a lunch of grill-burgers and brats, I enjoy an hour on the porch, the wind carrying a sprinkler-misting through the screen behind me at regular intervals. Maude, fifty-two years married, lures me to simpler times with her stories of a large circle of friends who did everything together. She and her friends picked a truck full of orchard apples together, unloaded them in one of their garages and spent the next day making seventy-eight apple pies. They swarmed a tomato field in the same way and spent the week after canning salsa, tomato soup, tomato-everything. Together they discovered quilting, candle wicking, rug making, etc. She told me how to craft a toothbrush rug, a penny rug, how to finish up my antique dresser project, her best recipe for chicken pot-pie, and how to make a fantastic Christmas centerpiece. My eyes are tearing up just telling you about it!

What a fascinating and lively woman! From a California girl on the cover of Life magazine, to a school-teacher, to a married woman and mother of four daughters…her stories nourished a part of me that had been pushed almost into dormancy in the past two years.

At two o’clock we got out garden fresh cucumbers and salt and let their coolness refresh us. My friend and I set up a rocket-blasting sprinkler for the kiddies and rescued the beach umbrellas from the rising wind.

At four o’clock I brought my wobbling three year old inside for a half hours rest on the porch swing. Three sunscreen sessions hadn’t survived lake water and sand, her blue eyes were bright and droopy against flushed cheeks. Maude played finger and toe games with her, till doggie “Belle” persuaded her back outdoors for more ball throwing and retrieving.

My favorite time of day at a lake is around seven to eight o’clock. Evening shadows and lapping waves and peace and tiredness all combine into a feeling of great satisfaction.

I’d love to see it in winter, bundled in a down comforter, with a fire in the fire pit and a hot mug of chocolate keeping my hands warm.

What is it about a good long day with friends that leaves one feeling so full and so empty? I think it’s the never-wanting-it-to-end. Knowing that summer is pretty much over till next year. And next year my girls will all be a head taller, and this summer day of memories a mere unread page archived on this blog.

But I have a chicken pot-pie recipe to try out, and some craft ideas to prepare for this weekend’s church camp. And believe it or not, I get to spend tomorrow cooking with friends in preparation for that same camp.

It’s shaping up to be a pretty great week.