Spring Break this year for our family means a trip to the Guntersville Lake, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I’ve been coming up to this place with my wife for the last 20 years. It belongs to her parents and they graciously allow their family to visit whenever the family wants. We’ll often come up during Spring Break, visit again after the end of school and then come during the Fourth of July holiday. If we can squeeze it in, we’ll try for another visit before school begins each August.
My wife first invited me when we started dating in 1993. I had not spent much time on the water growing up and, a lot of times, visiting was uncomfortable for me. It was hard for me to just sit around and do nothing. My mind was constantly whirring and thinking about things to do back home. I was always ready to hop into the car and head back to Birmingham.
But over the years, things changed. This place became an oasis instead of a destination. It became a blessing more than a chore. My wife describes this place as her most favorite place in the world and I’ve come to agree with her.
For many, coming to the water involves a lot of beer and racing around on watercraft. Our visits are just the opposite. We’ll visit the grocery store on the way in and try to prepare so that we have to leave as few times as possible. We bed down around 10 and sleep until we’re full, which usually means until 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. Each person finds their own light breakfast and the pace remains slow mid-morning. Those that exercise do so and others read, play or watch television until a move is made to the boat dock in the late morning.
Around noon, some will meander back to the house for a quick bite, while others continue to bask in the sunshine. Mid-afternoon usually means a pontoon boat ride, complete with floats to ride. After an hour or so of twirling kids around the lake, we’ll head back to the dock for more swimming and sunning.
Around 4:30, a drift toward the house begins. Some will head up to take showers and some may make a move to start supper. Others will linger on the dock as long as possible, or at least until the call to supper is heard.
After supper, there’s more talking and laughing. Eventually, some will break off to read or watch television and eventually each person makes their way to the comfy beds.
Many times, I’ll bring a box or two of stuff that I want to read or review, but I rarely ever get to the boxes. My mind goes through a process when I arrive. First, there are things to do and I’m still thinking about home and work. But slowly, I forget everything from home or things I planned to think about. By the end of the week, I’m thoroughly unplugged and I’m definitely not ready to re-enter the world.
This year, the weather didn’t fully cooperate. The first two days were sunny and mild, but most of the week was either cold or wet or sometimes both. We made a mid-week trip to Atlanta (wow, that’s a long drive) for some birthday shopping, but otherwise stayed around the lake. Despite our desire to stay on-site as much as possible, with the weather not cooperating, we ventured out a few times for supper.
It’s Friday evening now and we’re back home in Birmingham. All in all, this was one of our better family trips, despite the weather. Lots of rest, lots of reading and movies. And very little squawking. A good trip, indeed.