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Ozark Summer

June 7, 2011

All of us have fond memories from our childhood that we hold dear.  Occasionally, something triggers those memories…an old photograph, the mention of a name, a certain recipe, a conversation with a family member.  And for a few of us lucky ones, we are physically able to keep those memories alive by recreating & remembering those moments.  This is usually done through pictures, vacations & rituals.  For instance, my family celebrates Christmas the same way every year, down to the same dinner menu.  And there’s no shortage of photos from any & all occasions.  We are also able to spend long weekends at the Lake of the Ozarks, just like I did when I was a kid.  It’s a wonderful blessing.

So, the weather is getting warm & the days are getting long…time for summer, time for the Lake.  The Lake of the Ozarks is a gigantic man-made lake located in the center of Missouri.  It is home of my most cherished childhood memories…fishing for minnows, riding the board or torpedo until my hands were blistered, roasting marshmallows & playing a competitive game or 2 of rummy cube.  The Lake weekends have evolved since I was little: I’m traveling from KC, not STL, I spend more time cooking than boating & the weekends most definitely seem shorter.  Nonetheless, as we drive the windy roads, dodge the turtles crossing the pavement & hear the sounds of cicadas, I pull up to the same Lake house & I’m right back to those memories made in my younger years.

Although it’s not usually the focus of the Ozark weekends, food of course plays its role.  On the menu: deli sandwiches for lunch, pork steaks & corn on the cob for dinner & cocktails/beer all day & s’mores for a late night snack.  With few young kids running around, we have gotten lazy with our s’more making; we have resorted to the microwave.  This weekend, I took it upon myself to bring back the old fashion fire (with Dad’s help), using twigs for roasting.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Today, the Lake is most certainly over-populated & under-hygiened (yes, I make up words), but it still a great place to spend the summer.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to create new memories for my future children at the Lake so they, too, can look fondly on their Ozark summers…

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    June 7, 2011 7:28 pm

    absolutely perfect post

  2. Don permalink
    June 8, 2011 11:05 am

    Family traditions and memories are the most cherished experiences of life. I too remember my childhood at the Lake of the Ozarks. Mom would meticulously pack food and wait for dad to come home from work. We (dad) would load the car and be on the road by 6. I can remember seeing the church steeple off Hwy 70 in St. Peters and knew I needed to go to sleep because there was a long way to go. Going to Uncle Hanks place seemed to take forever and we all had upset stomachs after dad flew around the windy rock roads between Eldon and the lake. Once we arrived, we all unpacked, cleaned, and settled in. There was always project to do around the old cabin. It had 4 small rooms and one bath where all the men would sleep on cots (trying to out-snore the other) while the girls would get the 2 bedrooms. We often would shower outside with a hose which made the showers very short since the well water was always cold. Every day there were projects to be completed to maintain and upgrade the house however the afternoons were always for fun in the water. We had to walk up and down this very long hill to get to the lake. I remember mixing concrete & forming steps to replace the rock steps with real ones. The lake water always seemed warm and so calm. We were excited when a boat would come by to make a wave or two to float over. Fishing was a daily routine; not so much for minnows but for sunfish, bluegill and perch. They were small (3-7”) long and you could see them swim right up to our hook but more often than not they would swipe our dough bate. And yes, we would see who got the 1st, biggest, longest and the most. The dock was tiny given today’s standard and made from wood with metal 50 gal drums under it to keep it floating until they rusted out. Later they would be replaced by foam. Taking a ride in the 16’ inboard wooden ski boat was lots of fun. There were mechanical break downs so when it ran we would ski and have loads of fun. Gas @ $ .45 cent / gal was expensive on the lake but there was plenty of it. Uncle Hank’s boat was the normal size boat at the time. A 30 ft boat was seldom seen except for the excursion boats – Commander or Larry Don. There was always a horseshoe game in the late afternoon while the BBQ was cooking. And of course cards at night around the big kitchen table with a loud fan on full speed. I remember the day Uncle Hank agreed to put in a window A/C – he didn’t see why it was needed. Grandpa Hap saw what fun we had and how it brought the family together so he decided to buy his lot on the lake in 1960. He wasn’t sure that we’d want to travel to that lake which is why he bought at so many other locations. When we started our family, we started going to the lake and dad decided to build in 1985 for his retirement and our enjoyment. We bought the 1st pontoon boat in 1987 as our contribution to the lake home and we began creating new memories. We are blessed to afford the opportunity to escape from our hectic lifestyles and retreat to the lake of the Ozark where we can share fun in the sun.

  3. Kathy permalink
    June 14, 2011 12:32 am

    Wow, a couple trips down memory lane there. Generations of fun, I guess you could say. Don’t usually see Don put so many words together……….but there have been so many good times and a lot of laughs! Food is a big part of it all. Over-abundant breakfasts and simple sandwiches (Julie-that was the best ham sandwich I ever had) for lunch, to grilling all kinds of good things for dinner. Summer is the best for all the fresh fruits and veggies.
    Can’t wait to see you all there soon!! There’s a new cocktail waiting, for those of a certain age……….love that marshmallow picture, genuine s’more!!

  4. Neesha permalink
    June 20, 2011 9:34 am

    I absolutely loved this post — thank you!! Have you ever tried smores with chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers? its kind of different…i tried it once when i didnt have chocolate or graham crackers, only marshmallows…made for a nice treat!!

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