During my childhood years all the way through my college years my grandparents owned a house right on The Lake. Now for those who live in Missouri there is only one Lake. When we say The Lake we mean the Lake of the Ozarks. This lake has over 1100 miles of shoreline and was formed when Bagnell Dan was built by Union Electric Company. The main channel runs 92 miles. There are over 70,000 lake houses, condos, resorts and boat docks that surround the lake…. my grandparents’ house and boat dock being tucked away in the back of one of the hundreds of coves on the lake.
When Grandma and Grandpa bought the place it was a small run-down mobile home. But with Grandpa’s knowledge and skill in construction, it soon became a beautiful three bedroom, 3 bath house that comfortably slept ten people. My family spent many weekends and week-long vacations at the Lake during the summer. Many many memories were made during our times there.
Unfortunately, as my grandparents got older, the upkeep was just too much for them to handle and they had to sell this wonderful place shortly after I graduated from college. The Lake house created some of my best moments in my life. Just thinking of them puts a smile on my face. Here’s a short list of things I can remember:
- Grandpa teaching me to water-ski and slalom
- Riding a wave runner
- Learning how to drive the speed boat….and pontoon
- Swimming across the cove to the giant rope swing someone had hung over the water
- Three-hour pontoon rides that Grandpa took us on and we all fell asleep
- Learning how to bait a hook
- Bagnell Dam and the touristy shops nearby
- Worms (our bait) in the refrigerator
- Miniature golf
- Counting all the fish I caught in one summer, including any that someone else caught on my fishing pole. Ha!
- Fishing with my dad on the jon boat
- Big Surf Water Park nearby that we went to occasionally
- The old maid in the jar (who has that thing?)
- The light switch in the back bedroom (a novelty of my Grandpa’s, where is it now?)
- Playing with noodles in the water
- Paddle boat rides
- S’mores on the grill
- Shooting a gun for the first time
- Life jackets that we named Horace and Myra….not sure why.
- Skipping rocks
- All you can eat shrimp
- Shooting bb’s at the neighbor’s bird house (I got in trouble for that!)
- The North Shore (not the one in Oahu)….a little grocery store where we bought supplies
- Family reunions
- The game Aggravation, or Marbles as Grandpa called it
- Fireworks that I could light myself
- Grandpa playing his Merle Haggard music on the boat…..and singing along
- Going down the slide off the boat dock
- Christmas lights around the boat dock that Grandpa insisted stay up and stay lighted all year
- Grandma teaching us how to play “21”
- Swimming at 8am or 8pm…..basically anytime we wanted because we were at The Lake!
I’m sure I have forgotten a few things that will come up later. Each memory has a story behind it or an inside joke among the family that only we can laugh at. But that’s what memories are!
There are many days in prison that I think of these memories, wishing the Lake House was still in the family. But unfortunately, it’s not. Someday, though, I plan to get married, have a family, spend some time at the Lake and start to create some additional memories and great moments for my family. To sit in the Lake again for hours and hours on a raft or tube without a care in the world would be a dream come true. I believe that someday, someday soon, that dream could come true. Who knows…..maybe I’ll even live at The Lake!!!!