Conversation on the deck over wine and cheese before dinner.
It was a gorgeous fall weekend at the lake. We have, for years, started each summer at the lake by spending a weekend there with our friends Kev and Beck. This year, for the first time, we were able to also finish our summer by spending a weekend together. It sure felt like summer. Sunny and temps in the upper 80s made for picture perfect weekend.
It was a quick weekend. We arrived Friday evening and headed down to Captain Ron’s for a late dinner. As with all our weekends with Kev and Beck, the agenda was simple: Good food. Good drink. Good conversation. On Saturday we got out on the boat and headed over to Bulldog’s to pay a visit to our friend Buff, the lake’s best bartender. Saturday night was steaks on the grill followed by a long evening of conversation on the deck.
We got up this morning, spent an hour or so sitting in the sun on the dock and chatting. After lunch we packed up and headed home. After dropping us off back home in Pella, Kev and Beck joined us for a tour of our house that is under construction.
It was a great weekend to both extend and say a fond farewell to summer.
Hard to believe it’s Friday already. Wendy and I arrived back from our week at the lake on Monday night. After Memorial Day, we worked from the lake house. Wendy and I are blessed to have jobs that we can often manage from anywhere provided we have our laptops and an internet connection. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent working and trying to get ahead knowing that Kevin and Becky were arriving on Thursday night.
The big news of the week came with finding and buying a cute little boat that we’ve dubbed “Apollonia” or “Polly” for short. For many years we’ve been blessed to have the use of Dad VW’s boat down at the lake. He felt it was time to sell it and so he hauled it back to Iowa last fall and sold it to a guy from Minnesota just a few weeks ago. On the way down to the lake Wendy and I talked about how hard it was going to be (especially for me, I confess) to be “on the lake” but not to be able to be “on the lake” with family and friends.
The conversation continued over the next day or two and we discussed how much we could afford (not much) and what we really needed in a boat (something small, reliable that fit on the existing life and would get us from point A to point B on the lake). A little searching on-line led us to this cute 18 foot bow rider. A quarter of a century old, the 1989 Century shows signs of age and wear, but she’s cute and feisty (and she’s red, a big plus in Wendy’s book). After negotiations, test drives, mechanical inspections, we finally got her in the water on Friday.
Kev and Beck arrived late on Thursday night (Warning to all who come to our Playhouse: trust GPS directions at your own peril). On Friday the girls headed into Osage for a little shopping while Kev and I blew up the Relaxation Station and relaxed in the sun for a while. We got the boat in the water in the late afternoon and enjoyed an amazing steak dinner before taking the boat on a moonlight cruise to Bulldog’s for a nightcap.
Saturday was Bear Bottom day. We arrived early and staked our claim at the swim up bar, though the pool is always so cold this early in the season. It was there that Becky initiated the conversation about what we would call the boat, and we landed on Apollonia/Polly in homage to Apollo the Greek god of, among other things, light, sun, healing, and the arts. We ate lunch at Bear Bottom and hung out until mid-afternoon. A day in the sun had everyone worn out and naps were in order before another fabulous evening meal. Saturday night was spent on the deck in long, meaningful conversation. I’ve always known that the Playhouse is a thin place, but Saturday night’s conversation was a powerful reminder of just how much.
Kev and Beck had to leave at zero-dark thirty to get home for family activities. Wendy and I cleaned up, finished a little work, and then headed out on the lake for a long evening cruise. On Monday we cleaned up the house and packed up for home. My folks arrived about 2:45 and we showed them the new toy grandpa has to play with (He’s already fixed the horn and replaced a broken exhaust cover. Thanks Dad!). Wendy and I hit the road for home about 3:30.
But they soon forgot what [God] had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold. Psalm 106:13 (NIV)
Years ago I enjoyed the adventure of sailing across Lake Superior at night in a storm. By the time my partner and I took our shift at the helm we were far from the sight of land. With the storm pouring rain and wind over us, even the stars and moon were cloaked from view. I could not see the direction of the next wave that would buffet our boat. I could see nothing but the light of compass that sat just in front of the wheel as I held the ship’s course. Having been given the correct compass heading by our captain, I constantly fought to keep the ship headed in the right direction. We sailed through the blackness and I had to trust that if I maintained the proper course we would reach our destination safely.
Over time I have come to learn that there is an unveiling of the path as you progress in life’s journey. God’s message is spoken of as a foot lamp. It give us enough light for the next step on our current path, but we cannot see where the path is leading nor what is coming on the horizon. Like the compass on our night crossing of Superior, we often find ourselves making our way through darkness with nothing more than a compass heading.
There is no comprehensive map for life, though we may try to divine what will happen tomorrow or next year in all sorts of ways that range from the silly, to the spiritually unhealthy and delusional. Those who follow Jesus are on a faith journey and the point is not knowing but believing. The captain has given us a compass heading and our job is to hold course through the dark of night and through the wind and waves which constantly threaten to push us off course.
Sometimes we, like the people of Israel referenced in today’s psalm, get impatient for the plan to unfold and start setting our own course. My experience is that when we do this we tend to find ourselves lost at sea. Today, I’m acknowledging the reality that I have no idea what lies ahead. I can’t see beyond the bow of the boat most days let alone what’s coming up on the horizon. God’s message is my compass heading, and my Captain has assured me that if I hold course I will ultimately find myself safely in harbor.
Wendy and I enjoyed our weekend at the lake with our friends Kevin and Linda. We enjoyed a very quiet couple of days. It was a godsend for all of us, I believe. Wendy and I were straining a bit under the weight of late. As Kevin messaged me on Facebook yesterday, it was a weekend of “decompression” for all of us. There was a whole lot of nothing going on for a good part of the time, which was absolutely the point. The only excitement of the weekend came on Friday night after a pleasant dinner at Fish & Company. We had to make a fun sprint home in the boat to avoid a rapidly advancing and ominous looking thunderstorm. Glad to say we timed it perfectly. Right as we pulled into the safety of the dock the rain started to pour down.
On Saturday afternoon I was reading and dozing on the couch when I looked out on the dock to see Kevin and Linda sitting on the dock reading and doing crossword puzzles. A few minutes later they were gone and I knew exactly what had happened. They’d experienced the healthy meltdown that happens to everyone at the Playhouse. Sure enough, they’d come in for a nap. I smiled as I shut my eyes and drifted off to the sounds of Pat Hughes giving me the play-by-play of a Cubs’ loss (again).
Our evenings were equally relaxing. Sitting out on the deck under the light of the tiki torches enjoying good food, good drink, good cigars, and great conversation until the wee hours.
Wendy, Suzanna and I took the boat out to Bulldog’s Beach House for dinner on Wednesday night. It was a gorgeous evening and the summer sun was still intense as we began motoring for home. This was the picture I took out the back of the boat as we left the restaurant. I love the way it captured the warmth of the sun and the light off the water.
Wendy and I are excited to have Wendy’s family visiting us at the Playhouse this weekend. It’s taken an entire summer of scheduling and coordinating to make this happen, but it’s finally happening. The festivities began with Heidi and Sophia arriving last night. We enjoyed grilling burgers and a quiet evening of catching up.
This morning we took Sophia for a boat ride. It was a little chilly. The sun was warm, but you can feel autumn on the wind. We went slow and enjoyed a nice cruise around the lake. Sophia loved helping Uncle Tom drive the boat.