Years ago, when I was young, we started going to Cumberland Falls on vacation. It originally started as an overnight stop-over for vacations to the east coast or the south when my dad was still alive. Then it became a nice place for us to hang out for a week--with lots of great things to do and hanging out with other families who vacationed there the same time we did. Over the years, we all became friends and looked forward to spending a week or two together each July.
After I went to college and we didn't take family vacations anymore, we sort of lost track of those we used to vacation with...but they were never far from our hearts. Those were good times and we have very fond memories of our time at the Falls and being with our friends.
Then around 10 years ago, Joe and I were traveling and stopped there with our kids....and found that all of those families we used to vacation with were still going there each year! And now, we are back --my kids hanging out with the kids of those I hung out with 25 years ago.
It's like a huge family reunion every July. Sometimes the group is small--50 people or so, but sometimes it can be over 100. Some people are related, some are not. But combined, we make one giant "family of choice."
The best part of our week is being together. There are enough of us that someone is always up to do something with you...no matter what that something is.
One rainy day, we just sort of put the word out that we were playing cards or doing a puzzle in our cabin. No less than 25 people showed up....extra chairs, food, games, and booze in tow. Everyone wanted to hang out together--that's just how it is with these friends.
I have people ask me all the time why we go back there each year--this is why. I love that our Cumberland Falls family gathers from all over the country to be together. We pick up from where we left off and just spend time together for one week out of the year.
And then we spend the rest of the year wishing we were here.
My aim was to be electronic-free for a week and succeeded, thanks to the lousy cell service and the lack of wi-fi in my cabin. I'm not complaining. Nope. I loved walking away from the computer--something I haven't done....uh....ever. So, this was a nice change.
What did I do on my summer vacation? Oh boy....lots of good stuff:
Rescued 2 box turtles from being smushed on the road
Went white water rafting. Even though the river was a little low, it was still very fun. And I did not fall out of the raft--not even when they tugged on my PFD to dump me.
Put together a 500 piece puzzle with 20 other people
Hung out with good friends and laughed HARD
and the best part......relaxed
Unfortunately, the real world beckons today. I have to go back to the cubicle. The grind. The 'ole rut. But I'm not letting that get me down. Nope.
Far too often, I get stuck in "existing" mode, where I'm going through the motions of life, but not truly feeling or living. With the daily grind, working to pay bills and motoring through the errands, it's far too easy to fall into this rut. I wake up, go to work, come home, sit on the computer and go to sleep. Repeat.
Oh, sure there are fun times and lots of laughter mixed into the mix, but I find that when I'm in this cycle, I'm not living like I want to. I don't like just "living"...I want to live. You know....enjoy the simple things, smell the roses and kiss kitty noses and squishy stuff like that.
I always find that life is more fun when you slow it down a notch, to actually breathe deeply and to take notice of the world around you. That is when I find the good in this world and all the ugliness and idiots seem to be a tad more tolerable.
I am heading out to spend some time with some people who help me get to that point. There's one or two...or 50 of them that remind me of good and what it's like to be friends for a very long time.
And they nudge you to slow down and breathe deeply....
Do the things you don't normally do with people you don't always see....
The pond is covered this time of year, with lilies and hyacinths. While it looks congested and busy, this covering protects the fish and frogs from predators and the water from algae bloom. It also keeps the water shaded and cool so it doesn't overheat.
I don't really like all of this covering, but it is necessary. You just gotta look carefully to see the pond friends....
We went shopping for a new car a few weeks ago, and the car we chose....well...apparently it is a very popular model. So popular....we can't get delivery on the damn thing.
No, it it not a custom loaded Mercedes....it is a Nissan. Just a plain 'ole Nissan Rogue. BUT....we want a dark gray one and that is apparently on the you-must-wait-for-eternity-to-get-one list. Did I want to consider a white one they asked. Uh no...that is why I ordered dark gray.
So, this was 3 weeks ago that we put down a small deposit, with the promise that we'd have it by July 12th--at the very latest. "Oh, great," I said, "that would be perfect."
Yeah, except that didn't happen.
But, what DID happen in these past 3 weeks is:
We had to put front brakes on the van
The van was rear-ended (no damage, though. Whew!)
We got to put a new battery in the van as well
AJ, our friendly salesman, was all full of apologies and promises of 3 years worth of "maintenance"--whatever that means. And the next delivery date is the end of the month.
I just think life is more fun if we notice the little stuff and laugh...a LOT. I'm lucky to live with a family who humors me, joins in the fun and tolerates me most days.
I have a wee house and yard, but it is loaded with adventures. There isn't a backyard pond owner out there who has more stories about her frogs, snails, fish than me. And I don't even make this stuff up!
I'm glad you are here to laugh with me. Welcome, pallies!