Monday, June 22, 2009

Memories of Water

We spent the weekend at the lake. It's odd how someone who spent most of her life in a semi-arid region of the nation has so many lakes in my memories.

One of my first memories is of the 4th of July was seeing the fireworks show at Buffalo Springs Lake as a little girl. I remember spending the day there, in the heat, and sand, with my family and my grandparents. We had a picnic lunch of some kind and after a day of swimming and eating and playing, there was the cool that only comes after the sun goes down around here. I remember how the breeze felt soft as silk on my skin - and the huge beautiful fireworks overhead.

Later we often went down to Lake Brownwood in the summers. My grandparents on my mom's side would go down there to go fishing, and we would go down and camp for a few days. Unlike Buffalo Springs Lake, Lake Brownwood had the muggy heat that I tend to normally associate with lakes. Surrounded by live oak and mesquite, I remember walking along the beach, finding "sea shells" that were really the shells of lake mussels in all sizes. Teeny tiny ones that were smaller than even the end of my little girl fingers, and the big thrill was finding one bigger than my entire hand. Riding on the boat, fishing with Granma and Granpa, and Mr. Pibb.

Because back then, you could only find Mr. Pibb in South Texas.

Between my 7th & 8th grade years, we went on the road with my dad. He was working on a power plant near St. Johns, AZ and the first couple months of summer, we camped out at Lake Lymon State Park. We swam everyday, climbed to the top of the little mesa near the swimming hole and looked at petroglyphs, and at 3 pm everyday, headed to the tent, because that's when it rained.

The following summer took us to Washington State. We lived in a little place called Smokey Point, and we were a short walk from Twin Lakes. Again - days were spent swimming and sunning. And although western Washington is known for it's nearly constant rain, I don't recall alot of rain in the summers. Instead I remember walking the bike trail to Twin Lakes, helping ourselves to wild blackberries along the way, and hot muggy days in the sun.

A couple of years later brought us back to Texas - and Buffalo Springs Lake. It's only a few miles outside of Lubbock, and my high school summers found us out there as often as it did at a city pool or cruisin' around Maxey Park. Still hot, still sandy, my high summer memories of Buffalo tend to revolve around beer, looking good in my bikini and watching shirtless guys playing volleyball or tossin a football (and other activities that would be hidden quickly if any law enforcement drove by). I lost my favorite pair of sneakers one summer out there - when I had a couple too many brewski's and forgot to grab them when I went riding around with a cute boy. Never did find a pair of sneaks to equal those white Nikes.

(Pronounced Ni - KEEs by the way. I never heard anyone in Texas pronounce it any other way. Which it why it irritated the tar outta me when I saw Friday Night Lights and that kid kept referring to them as NIKES. Puh-leez.)

After high school, we branched out to White River Lake - again - hot, sandy, but you could put a boat on it. I think that's all that mattered to us - could you swim? Could you put a boat on it? We didn't go out there as much as we did to Buffalo, but we did make visits. Not long after I married MDH, we went fishing at White River, and one night at the crappie house (that's prounounced "croppie" even those it's spelt crappy. Don't ask me why - it doesn't make sense to me either), during a thunderstorm, I think we encountered a little twister. I can't think of anything else that would have snapped the inch thick bolt that was linking the crappie house to the shore. Nothing like looking out the door of the crappie house, which is supposed to be fixed into position, and seeing the shore swing away.

Needless to say, I don't go anywhere near a lake when there's a storm on the way anymore.

Before I had E, some friends of ours bought a place at Lake Stamford. It's about 3 hours away, and is like the lakes I remember most fondly - surrounded by mesquite, hot, muggy, and peaceful. It's mainly a fishing lake - that's why our friends started going, and that's why we ended up buying a place there. For some reason, when we get there - usually at night - I step into the steamy darkness, and feel at home. I'm not sure I'd want to live at the lake - but I do enjoy visiting. Our place is surrounded by huge mesquite trees and buffalo grass, with the occasional mulberry tree. It's a little place - just a two bedroom trailer house. But it's perfect for my little family. We have a place to keep our boat, and we spent alot of weekends down there fishing and relaxing.

I used to hate going down there. When the boys were little, MDH would go out fishing most of the day, and I'd be stuck in the house with two rambunctious little boys. You could only take them swimming for so long each day. But now they're older, and we all spend our days out fishing, with breaks for swimming, so I don't mind so much. In fact - we're going to be spending our vacation down there this year - so that my boys will have the kind of summer memories I do.

Swimming. Fishing. Sunning. Finding teeny weeny shells on the beach. Just being. Because isn't that what a vacation *should* be?

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