Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Returning to the Lake - Childhood Memories

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4

When I was growing up, our summers were spent on Lake Champlain. My Dad's family owned several camps on Malletts Bay and we rented one just about every summer. My Dad came from a family of 10 and several of his siblings lived out of state, so the summer time was when they would return to Vermont for vacation. We spent many days swimming and boating and catching up with family.

From the time I turned 12 years old, most of my summer was spent taking care of my two younger brothers (my mother worked full time), cleaning house and making dinner, but the weeks we spent on the lake were my time to just be a kid. I had no responsibility other than taking care of myself and those days were happy and carefree for me. I had friends at the lake that I had made over the years and we would hang out together, roller skating at the local rink, playing the juke box and dancing at the local outdoor diner, Clarys, swimming, sunbathing and just being kids. My fondest childhood memories are of those times on the lake.

I don't have an actual Bucket List, but if I did - Returning to the Lake - would be on that list.

I've often wanted to go back there and re-live those memories. So much has changed over the years. In fact, the camp we used to stay in is no longer there, long ago torn down, as well as the main family camp. The roller skating rink is gone - burned down when I was still a teen-ager, Clary's is now an apartment house, the public beach is gone and the ice cream place was abandoned a long time ago!

But this week I am getting the opportunity to go back in time. I have rented a camp on Lake Champlain right across the street from where I used to stay as a young girl. This camp is quite different from the one I stayed in as a young girl. It's got 4 floors and 4 bathrooms, very modern with wifi, TV and all the conveniences of home.

The camp we used to stay in, called Camp Havarest, was quite rustic. Their was no TV, and wifi wasn't even heard of back then! The walls of the bedrooms did not go all the way to the ceiling, there were no closets in any of the rooms, just hooks on the wall to hang your clothes on and the one bathroom was outside!

Oh, how I hated that bathroom. Used to beg and plead with my older brother to go in and kill all the daddy-long legs before I went in. I barely finished my business before I was out of there with my pants not even back up around my waist!!

Is it all I remember it to be?

Yes and No.

Yes - The rhythm of days spent at the lake is the same, I certainly feel that. Up early and down on the beach by 9-9:30. Swimming, sunning, reading, paying no mind to responsibility that lies only 6 miles away! The smells, the sounds, the sensations, the sunsets - all the same and, oh, how they take me back!

The smell of the water, the sound of waves lapping the shore, the cutting clams under foot in the water, causing you to walk very carefully. The sand in my toes, the heat of the sun, the sunburned nose, the soft waves caressing my skin, the breath taking sunsets. Oh, I just can't get enough!! A week is much too short!

No - I am no longer a young girl. I am now the grandmother urging my grand kids to watch out for the clams, admonishing them to put on sunscreen, pick up their towels, make sure you wipe the sand off your feet before you go in, hang up your towel, where's your wet bathing suit?

I used to be on the other end of all those commands!

But I am loving it here and am so grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to be here, to revel in the sunshine on this beach, the beach of my childhood and remember the carefree times of those days.

Yes, I know, they say you can't go back, but for this one short week, the Lord has allowed me to reminisce, remember and enjoy. How thankful I am!

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