Love and Laughter

by Jill Peters

When I was a kid, my family would spend a couple of weeks every summer at the city park in Chelan.  We would tow our trailer over there with our white Pontiac station wagon, leaving the rainy west side of the mountains for the sunny side of the east.  We would stay in one campsite for a few days and as a better spot closer to the lake opened up, we’d move. Eventually we were in the front row nearest the lake, with a big patch of grass and a shady tree or two.  We spent our days swimming in the lake or laying on the dock slathered in baby oil, listening to KOZI on the AM radio, waiting for Limelight by Rush to come on.  No sunscreen for us…we wanted to burn.  We were never late because we had no set plans.  We were there with friends and relatives and we’d play volleyball and soccer.  And we’d get up super early in the morning and waterski on glass, with only one or two other boats on the whole lake.  We would go to Judy-Jane Bakery, which has sadly been replaced with Starbucks.  We would go to Mr. J’s Lane 11 for dinner once during our stay and it seemed so special back then.  It hasn’t changed but my perspective has.     Otherwise, I don’t remember what we ate or how and when the meals were prepared.  As a kid, I only had to show up and eat…yet another thing I took for granted.  And usually, as we were nearing the end of our time, my mom and aunt would walk across the park to the check-in building and see if we could stay for a few more days.  I remember waiting for them to walk back, always hopeful that we’d get more time.  I don’t remember ever being disappointed, so I’m assuming we always got the additional days we were looking for.  The problem was that eventually that additional time would be up, and we’d still want more.  It just was never enough. 

We have continued to visit Lake Chelan with our kids, but it’s gotten more and more expensive and more and more crowded.  Now our favorite place to spend time is a family cabin on a lake in northern Idaho.  We have gone every summer (and every winter) for at least a week at a time, for 20 years.  It’s never enough time.  We stay up late watching movies or playing Spoons or Rook.  We sleep in, have a late breakfast and then head to the lake.  There are all kinds of water toys…a ski boat, pontoon boat, jet-skis, air mattresses, innertubes, waterskies, a knee board, a wake board and a small sail boat.  We spend our whole day on or in the lake.  And as I get older, I find that I still want to do all the things I did when I was a kid, but I can’t.  So, I have adjusted.  I used to lay in the sun wearing baby oil.  Now I stay in the shade wearing a big sun hat and lots of sunscreen.  I used to slalom ski and now I ski on two skis.  But I’m still out there laughing my head off.  I don’t go as far or as fast, but it’s still fun.  I still like to innertube, but instead of wanting to fly off, I just want to casually cruise around.  The old knee board no longer has the knee strap, but we tie a ski rope to it and lay on our stomachs and body surf in the wake behind the boat.  At least that’s what we did the first year.  Then the kids discovered they could get on their knees, and then they discovered they could stand up on it.  I’ve watched them stand up back there, and casually adjust their shorts and fix their hair and bracelets and do the Fortnight dance standing on that knee board behind the boat.  They do it so quickly and easily that they make me think I can do it too.  So, I tried.  And what I discovered about myself is that I’m afraid.  Not afraid that I won’t be able to do it, but afraid that it will hurt.  And I’m also not as flexible or strong as I used to be.  I managed to get on my knees and let go with my hands, but when I tried to get to my feet, I couldn’t stand up.  Because to stand up, you must let go of the board with your hands and actually stand up.  So, I made some mental adjustments and decided that what I really liked was staying on my stomach on the board, so that’s what I did.

I think adjusting is a good thing as you get older.  So is trying new things.  Or continuing to do something you used to do. But what matters the most is being out there together, enjoying each other’s company, encouraging each other.  And laughing.  I can’t get enough of that.  It’s a great thing to know that you can’t get enough of the people you love.