"We're all just fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make." – Jerry Ellis

Archive for the ‘Table Rock Lake’ Category

The Midwest is Tremendously Underrated

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake

The Midwest, particularly Missouri, is tremendously underrated. Having lived my entire life as a Midwest gal, I will vouch for that. Sure, we don’t have California’s sunny beaches, Colorado’s beautiful mountain ranges or New York’s shopping and Broadway—we have to go on vacation for that kind of excitement! But we do have beautiful lakes, luscious green, rolling hills and trees and a four distinct seasons of weather.   I for one dislike Winter immensely, but I love how as much as we complain about the cold we complain about the hundred-degree days about six months later.

Missouri, one of the “flyover states”, particularly St. Louis, has a lot to offer that often goes overlooked. No, I’m not talking about the St. Louis Arch, although pretty awesome and unique, I’ve only been up in once when I was in high school, despite the fact I live about 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis. We have the world-renowned St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Blues hockey team and our beloved St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis has Forest Park, where the 1904 World’s Fair was held and is now a fabulous place for early morning runs, home of the St. Louis Zoo (free admission!) and history and art museums.

If that’s not your thing, Missouri has Table Rock Lake—our family’s favorite lake, as well as the Lake of the Ozarks and Mark Twain Lake. There are tons of small lakes for fishing and boating. Almost every weekend there are organized races to run, from 5Ks and up. There are tons of great restaurants here—particularly Italian restaurants on the Hill. Yum!

I also really love Rednecks—or hillbillies or hoosiers—whatever your preferred term. Please note that I use it with affection. They are also underrated in our suit and tie society. If you were in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but friends, an ATV and some beer, would you rather be with a redneck or a Wall Street stockbroker? To be sure, a redneck would find a way to make some fun. (If you’re the timid sort you might want to make sure there aren’t any bullets in his gun first.)

All my love of my home state aside, I’m secretly glad Missouri is a little underrated. Despite what you’ve heard from our lovely media lately, Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, is a beautiful area that is not full of thugs that burn down QTs. (My lifelong home church is located there!) And while almost every year St. Louis shows up on a list of Most Murders in the country and that sort of thing, I’d like to point out that most of the crimes that make those awful lists happen in the wee hours of early dawn with people that are up to no good. (I know, I know…it happens in the suburbs, too—I don’t live in a bubble.) After all, if we were perfect, we wouldn’t be Midwesterners.

Vacation

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake

In case you missed me last week (I kinda hope SOMEONE out there did), I was on vacation with my family at Table Rock Lake. My husband, Darrell, tells his boss he pays extra to NOT have phone/WiFi access while we’re there just so he gets some peace and quiet, but it does make it hard to do anything online. One day I got out the computer to write overlooking the beautiful view, but in addition to my laptop having technical difficulties, I found myself not wanting to miss out on precious time with our family. So I put it away. However, I did enjoy some wonderful time thinking of more things I wanted to explore in my writing, so I didn’t actually “lose” a week writing.

For one thing, my father-in-law, Mike, got some dragonfly pictures for me when we were out on the boat. So I swapped out the blog’s graphic. (Thanks, Dad) These are the gorgeous little creatures we always see out there at Point 15, near the St. James River. It’s kind of the end of the Lake, so it’s usually pretty quiet during the week with only a few other boaters. If we are ever able to have a vacation home, there are several in that little area in Cape Fair I would love to take off someone’s hands. Of course, that might be a loooong while—another thing we did on vacation was visit a college with Tyler (blog post forthcoming on that) Having three kids going through college in the next ten years will most likely preclude any second home purchases in the near future—as if that’s the only reason! Since we can’t afford to buy a house there, we did buy an island this year…and yes, it does fold up nicely on a shelf in the garage.

Harrelson Island

I am happy to report that I was able to get plenty of reading in while on vacation. Time spent reading is such a gift to me. So often I feel that I need to be writing, writing, writing, that I don’t balance it with reading very well. We also got in a lot of boat time—tube rides, water skiing, knee boarding and swimming. If you look really close at the picture in the big splash you’ll see me falling off the tube as the girls look on. Sympathetically, right?

a cropped Tube falling 2014

The most important thing about our vacation is the time our family spends together. It’s a nice surprise to have your seventeen-year-old son post a photo collage on Facebook saying he’s having a great time with his family. Our kids loving seeing their younger cousins, and just hanging out with their grandparents and aunt and uncle they don’t see as much as we’d all like. As a married couple, we’ve gone on this vacation annually for over 20 years, but Darrell’s family has been coming out here longer than that. Over the years, our once large group has gotten a bit smaller, but the lake vacation is a tradition our kids look forward to each and every year. Even if it’s the five of us sharing one tiny bathroom. Talk about your family bonding.

View from our Room

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