Summer times

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #93: remember

Remembering past times, especially joys, is a good way to ease tension. This week, I invite you to remember and share.

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I remember…

…when spring signaled it was time to start planning our family vacation. One week away for just my husband and me…then for 3 of us…then 4.

One thing I knew when I became a parent…we would make sure to set aside a family-only “getaway” every year. A time of just plain fun and connection. None of the usual distractions. Or “things to do.”

It did not have to be far or fancy. And it wasn’t…

For 20 years we packed up the car and drove 70 miles to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. We stayed at a conference center that also catered to families. Where I had worked for two glorious summers as a teenager.

What do I remember about that one family week every summer?…

The days slowed down and opened up with time for everything and anything. I didn’t have to cook. Or clean. Or wash dishes. We all ate from a basic all-you-can-eat buffet at the dining hall.

We didn’t have to go anywhere.

There were no televisions. No phones except a payphone (remember those?).

What we had was a beautiful lake. Canoes. Kayaks. Sand. Baseball field. An “old-time” ice cream store selling locally made ice cream scooped into crunchy cones.

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Acres of woods surrounded us…to hike and collect “natures” – as my kids would call the pine cones, acorns, leaves and assorted scraps of treasures they found. Filling a sand pail…

Then sorted and counted and carefully lined up…for display on the deck railing of our building.

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There was, of course, the small beach where we plunked down our sand chairs, towels, plastic pails and shovels. Dug holes to China and constructed sand castles with moats. Read a paperback book or two. Splashed, jumped and played catch in the water.

One of my favorite activities for evenings or rainy days…playing lots of cards…

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Dad barely makes it down a flight of stairs before the self timer takes the shot (1995)

Was life simpler then? I don’t know.

All I do know for sure…

…it was joy...pure and simple.

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That’s what I remember.

Photo a Week: Timing is Everything

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge this week: Timing is Everything

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING PERFECT TIMING.

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When you are a 9 year old girl with a 3 ½ year old brother…on a family vacation…enjoying a lake swim…chances are there will be shenanigans.

You might even be minding your own business…practicing your crawl stroke. Watch Me! Watch Me! Or just hanging out and relaxing in the shallow water.

After a busy year in third grade, a kid needs some down time. That’s what vacations are for.

And then along comes the little trickster. The one with the ready grin, giggles and surprises up his sleeve. Even when there are no sleeves.

Up he sneaks…at just the right moment…perfectly timed…for a well aimed splash.

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Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
August, 1991
35mm film

Let the games begin!

Photo a Week – The Great Outdoors

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week: A Photo a Week Challenge – The Great Outdoors

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF NATURE.
For twenty years my young family and I packed up the station wagon to travel 90 minutes north for our annual week-long summer vacation…

…to the Great Outdoors.
A conference center/family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. A fairly rustic setup, we roomed together in a small bedroom (until we outgrew it & also needed the room across the hall), ate together at a communal dining hall and spent the better part of every day playing together. The 2 of us. Then the 3 of us. Then the 4 of us.

No television. No phones. Long before the internet and cellular phones. No distractions.
And no cooking. No cleaning. No dishes to wash.

It was eat, sit, talk, explore, swim, dig in the sand, play cards, games, read, sing, sleep.
Repeat.

Lots of walking…especially through the woods surrounding us. Sometimes via the walking trails or sometimes blazing our own…collecting “natures” as in…leaves, acorns, pine cones, twigs, pebbles….

Several times each day we made the trek down the path to the lake…our feet crunching over the layer of finely crushed gravel. Breathing in the damp mossy air. Spotting little critters dashing through the brush on the forest floor. Looking up, squinting in the bright sun, trees standing high above our heads…branches spread as if protecting us, little and big alike. Slapping a few buzzing mosquitoes.

Eerily quiet. Peaceful.

When our children were small, the walking time depended on the amount of equipment we needed to bring with us. And how fast little feet could walk. Or needed to stop and rest from the weight of pails, shovels and sand toys. But it didn’t matter. We were in no hurry.

With just one 3 year old…it was only a swimming tube, towel and a chair for mom & dad.
A ten minute walk.

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Let’s go to the lake, oh daddy, let’s go to the lake (35mm film)