Hoo – Boy! Our editor just emailed me that my column is due. I have about one hour to meet my deadline (which is, in reality, an over-deadline). I am in good old Indiana. I am a Hoosier to the bone, and any time I hit Indiana I feel a happiness that I never feel anywhere else. I thought Europe was a bust. Don’t those people know how to speak English? Travel has its merits, but Indiana is still the best.
We are at Oliver Lake in northeastern Indiana and I have four of my five grandchildren with me. I would have the fifth, too, if I could! She is my son’s child. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve never been able to bring her to the lake and do the things I do with my daughter’s children.
Now, the highlights vary. It could be the little ice cream shop down the road, standing in line with the many Amish horses and buggies, where the kids can order anything they want, and ice cream is soon running down their chins onto their bare chests, it could be the field that is so vast it had about 25 deer a couple of days ago, it could be the water sports that wear us out before it ever wears the kids out. (How can kids go that long and have that kind of stamina?), it could be the redness of sunsets, over the planted fields, as we take a walk down to the little bridge. It could be the cloud watching, and forming animals or things in the clouds, or, it could be all of it.
I brought a book with me but have not opened it. I really wanted to, but in the evening, I have at least one little girl on my lap, and reading a story to all of them. One bedroom in this little lake house (which is an exaggeration since the roof is about to fall in and we have buckets to catch the water) has all four kids piled in. They don’t seem to have any problem with the fact that they are transformed from Louisville suburban kids to Indiana rural kids. Baths are at the bottom of the list. I gave up nagging when we got here. They are in the water anyway.
I have only had to use the first aid kit once, and then I reminded them that if they weren’t healthy and active, they wouldn’t have any wounds, and to be grateful for their wounds. All their teeth are still intact, although it is a wonder, and none has drowned. To watch them on the tubes or skis behind the boat laughing and having the time of their lives beneath a sky as blue as blue can be, with huge cumulous clouds is a pleasure beyond compare. No amount of money can give a child what nature does. They are fortunate indeed, but it may be a long wait ’till they are old and gimpy, moaning about aches and pains, before they fully appreciate the joy of childhood. And that’s as it should be.
Have fun this summer.
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