School starts tomorrow, signaling the end of summer-time fun.
When I was a kid, one of my family’s summer traditions was to drive four hours north to Burt Lake. On Burt Lake there used to be a cozy group of cabins called Holiday Homes. The reddish-cabins were a bit small and outdated, but were cozy all the same and had kitchens and fireplaces. The huge lake was pristine, shallow and warm.
Several families always went up with us. Every year some of my Mom’s sisters and brothers (she is one of ten children) families would fill up the five cabins. A few times my grandparents would even drive up from Florida to spend the week with us. It was a week of potlucks, catching crayfish and toads, swinging fast and high on the rope swing, watching my Uncle Kevin eat live minnows (once every year) and singing old church songs in front of one family’s fireplace while Uncle Blake played guitar.
These are treasured memories. But some of my favorite Burt Lake memories were planted in my brain while standing around the horseshoe pits. Every year, we had a horseshoe tournament. All the adults and kids were invited to try their luck at tossing their horseshoe closest to the stake more times than anyone else.
Now, since I was a kid, and my childhood memories are admittedly a bit foggy, I cannot tell you how long a tournament lasted, but it felt like days.
The best part: watching my Grandpa play. He had a fun way of being competitive but not at all mean-spirited. On his turn, he would stride over to his mark, horseshoe in hand, and get his game face on. After careful concentration he would release he horseshoe, wait for it to *clank* around the stake and then he would let out a rooster crow! Not any mamby-pamby rooster crow either, but from the gut and with gusto. (Think Peter-Pan.) Even now, I can’t help but smile at the thought of grandpa and his rooster crow.
At least once, my grandpa won the tournament, and someone had the idea to make a trophy for him. The trophy was called The Rooster Cup. The Rooser cup was passed to several different winners throughout the years. I’m not sure who has it now – but I hope Grandpa does.
My Grandpa is still going strong. He’s 86 and writing a book. My grandma looks sweet in this picture, doesn’t she? She had such a beautiful and loving heart. She passed a few years ago. Grandma wrote a book too, called My Lord, My Shepherd. I am amazed when I read through it and find that some of the pages seem familiar, like they could have been writen by myself. We must have been at least a little similar. She was a wise woman, a gentle dove. Although I grew up many many miles from them, and may not know them as well as I’d like, I am very thankful for them. Their inheritance is a blessed one. I pray that my marriage will always be as strong as theirs, and that my life will always shine of Jesus’ love like their lives do.
What is one of your favorite summer tradition memories?