"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but the opposition you have encountered and the courage
with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

Orison Swett Marden

Friday, July 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We came home from our vacation at Lake Bemidji State Park last Sunday night. Rolled into the driveway about 8:00. It was such a beautiful day that day it was harder than usual to leave. As we often do, we got packed up and ready to roll, then after getting all hot and sweaty, went for a wonderful swim to cool off for the ride home. After about 30 miles, we passed Itasca State Park. I was tempted to radio Allen and Craig to ask them if they wanted to go camping there for another week.

We were having trouble getting internet service the last part of the week so I wasn’t able to keep up with my writing…I figured if I couldn’t post it, it would be “old news” by the time I did. I read two enjoyable books, however, which was nice. It’s hard to concentrate with my depression so reading isn’t very easy so I was happy to be able to get through two. We had pretty good weather last week, with a few rain storms. One evening, about 6:30, it had been raining and we heard a loud pounding on our trailer door. It was the campground host. There was a tornado warning out for the area and we were instructed to go to the basement Visitor’s Center or the restroom buildings. That was interesting to be in the Visitor’s Center with over half the campground…many people soaked to the skin from running to the building from their sites. Children, pets, teenage girls. We must have been there about 45 minutes until the warning expired. Apparently a tornado had touched down somewhere but we were fine. We used that as a movie night since we couldn’t do much else.

Saturday was another beautiful day, though it was a little windy. I didn’t have a lot of energy so I finished my second book but then I was anxious to get out on the lake. Craig wasn’t interested so Allen and I headed to the marina. On the way, I qualified the little expedition by telling Allen, “Only if I can drive.”

We don’t have a very fancy boat. It’s just a 16 foot Lund fishing boat with a 40 horse Johnson motor for power. Willy likes to lie underneath the steering column when we go out. The boat has actually been in our family for a few decades. My memory for dates is usually right on but this one is a little fuzzy. I’m guessing it was probably 1983 when my father bought it. You can see pictures of it in my blog entry dated June 3rd. After Dad felt he was done using it, it was passed on down to my brother Mark and he had it several years. A few years ago he was ready to upgrade so I jumped at the chance to get that boat. Allen has had a couple other boats during our marriage but none that really suited me. The first was a leaky fiberglass boat in which the trailer was as ugly as the boat. The next one was a little better. My stepson Kevin actually found it for us. This one had a floor in it but parts of it were rotten. Such a good kid…he replaced the floor and all of the indoor/outdoor carpet. It had a 30 horse motor on it, which was an improvement for us, but still didn’t take us anywhere very fast. I’m guessing it was 2005 when we inherited Dad’s boat. Finally¸ a steering wheel! And the extra 10 horse power really made a difference. It wasn’t long and we invested in a good tube, which even Allen, at his age, rides in.

A little background…
In 2005, we spent our week’s vacation at Lake Mille Lacs Kathio State Park near Brainerd. It was one of our favorite vacations. Craig loved it there. There was so much wildlife to see…deer all over the place. They had a great naturalist program. We learned about white-tailed deer, frogs and how the Native Americans made rope out of wood. My favorite part of the week was going on a canoe ride with Craig down the Rum River. The river was crystal clear…I saw a huge northern and we enjoyed paddling by the marshy sides.

The worst part of the week came the day before we left. Allen’s back went out. And I mean completely. He couldn’t move at all. I had to call an ambulance. Luckily my stepson Brian and his girlfriend were able to come to us so Brian could drive a vehicle home (because we had both the camper and boat with). At the time we still had our pop-up camper, which is relatively easy to handle so I didn’t have a problem with packing up and getting us going, even though it was tough doing both my jobs and Allen’s. The moral of this story is that I need to know how to take care of things if Allen isn’t able to. For instance, last weekend I had my first official lesson on how to hook up the trailer. It needs stabilizer bars and all this so it’s a little more complicated than the pop-up. Then there is the boat. What if we were out in the middle of the lake and, God forbid, Allen had a heart attack or something and I didn’t know how to work that boat? For that reason alone, I knew I had to learn.

Saturday as we reached the marina, I didn’t want Allen to do a thing. I did everything from hook up the depth finder (I like to know how deep of water I’m in), pump the air out of the gas line and prime the motor. I got her started on the second try. :)  I’m learning how to maneuver much better now too, backing up and such. I got us out of the channel and out on Lake Bemidji and pushed the throttle down. I pretty much circled the whole lake.

There is another side to this story though. Even though we are the third owners of the boat, in my mind, that boat is still my dad’s. When I’m sitting in that driver’s seat, I feel a kind of spiritual connection to him. Just about every time I’m in the boat, I think, who knew, 20+ years ago that I would own his boat and would be flying across the water, loving the feeling of the wind whipping through my hair? While towing the guys in the tube, I can’t help but think that Dad would be proud that I remember the lessons he taught me about boating and that I am able to handle it so well. Even the trailer. I’m the one who takes the boat so I do all the backing up and such. I get so frustrated with Allen because I think he still thinks I’m a “girl” and don’t know how to do that! But I can back that thing up into its tight little space between the garage and utility pole without a problem! (Hah!) And each time we launch and load, I get more involved so I can get to the point where I’ll be able to do that by myself as well.

So, another annual vacation has passed us by. We have four more camping trips scheduled and may add some in the fall. Next weekend we’re headed to Itasca again and Craig is bringing his best friend Tyler along. They are both very excited about that. Then to Minneapolis for a family reunion on Allen’s side. We’ll celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary that Friday, Twins game Saturday and reunion Sunday. The following weekend is my family reunion on Lake Sarah, near Mentor, MN. Then we get a weekend off before we take a five day trip to Sioux Falls. We’ll be staying at a state park near there. We have a couple of days for doing our own thing, but for the weekend, we’ll be at the LifeLight Music Festival to hear some of the best Christian bands out there. It will be our second trip to the festival.

It’s been a busy summer camping for us. Years ago, a psychologist told me that if I could just go on a perpetual camping trip, I would have no problems with my mental health. Well, I’ve had some very difficult stuff thrown at me this year so maybe that’s why I was prompted to fill our calendar so full when I was making reservations last year. Somebody up there is looking out for me.

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