Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Quiet Retreat

Joshua and I have returned from the lake.

We left while there was still an hour of light remaining, so that we would be on a four-lane highway once darkness set in.

Josh and I really did not do much this weekend--we swam, and we walked through the woods, but otherwise we just enjoyed the peace and quiet. We took our own food with us, and we grilled chicken outside last evening, but otherwise we ate in the house.

Unlike many families, our family has never used the lake for boating or fishing. The lake has served our family as a quiet retreat, and nothing more.

When my brothers and I were kids, we would go up to the lake three-out-of-four weekends in the summer months. Our first summer weekend at the lake would always be Memorial Day weekend, and our final summer weekend at the lake would always be Labor Day weekend. In addition, we would always spend one entire week at the lake to coincide with July 4.

We always had a lot of fun. We would go swimming, and play badminton, and play volleyball, and play croquet, and play basketball, and play soccer. We always played basketball after dinner, and we would still be playing long after the sun had set. Only when our parents called us in for the night did we finally stop playing.

Of course, there being an odd number of us, my brothers and I always had to devise our own sets of rules for all games we played, creating special rules applicable for three players. Sometimes we had trouble settling on what constituted fair play, but ultimately we always worked everything out.

My parents never used the lake house except during the summer months, when school was out for the year. The house was never opened until the end of May, and it was always shuttered for the winter in early September.

Some families used their lake properties on a more frequent basis than we did. They would spend time there during the autumn and spring months, too, and even, on occasion, in the winter. One family, a retired couple, even uses their lake house as a primary residence now.

Our family, however, has used the lake house less and less in the past few years. After my oldest brother completed his schooling, and started working, and stopped coming home for the summer, we stopped going to the lake most summer weekends. When my middle brother completed his schooling, and started working, and stopped coming home for the summer, we spent weekends at the lake even more infrequently.

Last summer, we used the lake house very little. Josh and I did not come to Minneapolis until June, and he and I had to settle in, and we had our apartment to get ready, and I had to prepare for the bar exam, and it just seemed that we did not have enough time to go up to the lake most weekends last year. We DID spend a week at the lake last year over July 4, because my brothers and my oldest brother's family were home for a visit, but that was the only meaningful time we spent there last year.

We all plan to get together and do the same thing this year during the week coinciding with July 4, but I am not sure how often Josh and I, or my parents, will go up to the lake this summer. I am not certain that we will even spend Memorial Day weekend at the lake this year, since my parents are talking about going to New York to visit with their grandson that weekend, and since Josh and I are talking about going to Denver to visit with my middle brother that weekend.

In any case, the house is ready. Josh and I removed the sheets from the furniture, and vacuumed everything, and cleaned the kitchen, so anyone can visit at any time without any additional preparation.

Perhaps Josh and I will take my parents up to the lake to spend one weekend there prior to Memorial Day. I think they might like that.

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