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By: IONE L. (zaneygraylady)   + 85 more  
Date Submitted: 2/16/2007
Last Updated: 4/12/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs
Words: 946

  Our family camping trips are always adventurous and this one was no exception. We were camping at Higgins Lake in the Lower Peninsula in central northern Michigan. It’s a good size lake with a nice swimming beach and with a bonus feature of an ice cream stand the kids can walk to. We decided to let our oldest boys stay home because they had jobs but we still had a crowd with our twelve-year-old son Asa, his friend Zandy, my fourteen-year old daughter Kilah and seven-year old niece Emily. There were six of us in a pop up camper with supposedly enough sleeping room for six. We all fit but I wouldn’t say two adults and four kids slept comfortably.
We were only about an hour from the Mackinaw Bridge, which connects the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula and from their two hours to Taquaminin Falls and Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. We were planning on spending the entire day on this trip so I fixed a hardy breakfast packed a lot of snacks for lunch. We planned on stopping at my favorite restaurant in the area in the way back, The Gobbler. As the name implies it features home-style turkey dinners, which I love, and also great burgers and ice cream for the kids at a very reasonable price.
We had an enjoyable and uneventful time at Taquaminin falls. It was getting to be late afternoon but Whitefish point is not far from where we were and it is one of my favorite beaches. It’s not a swimming beach since the water never gets any warmer than a glass of ice water even on the hottest summer day, but it has a rugged beauty that I love. The waves on Lake Superior can be large and majestic and the beach is filled with beautiful smooth stones of many colors, which I like to collect for my garden. Also just a few miles off shore is where the famous Edmond Fitzgerald capsized and all crew on board drowned.
When we got to the parking lot the boys asked me if they could go swimming. “Sure,” I said knowing full well that they wouldn’t go any farther than dipping their toes in once they saw how cold the water was. My daughter Kilah was entertaining Emily and Dave planted himself on a bench as he usually does when we go anywhere. I started down the beach with my bag for looking for stones. I was in my own world finding an ample supply in every color from purple to peach, pink, black, white and combinations of them all. My bag was full so I started stuffing the pockets of my sweatshirt with stones.
Heading back I noticed some people body surfing in the gigantic waves. I was too far away to see who it was but I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that I usually get when my kids are doing something dangerous and stupid. I started running down the beach with the rocks dragging in my pockets yelling at the top of my lungs, “Get out of the water”. I was really worried the boys would be joining the shipwrecked crew on the bottom of Lake Superior. They couldn’t hear me and my husband was sitting on the bench oblivious to anything going on around him.
When I finally got close enough for them to hear me the boys got out of the water with smiling faces despite the fact that they were shivering and blue. Panting I yelled at them, “What’s wrong with you two? You could have drowned.”
“You said we could go swimming” Asa replied.
“I didn’t think you were crazy enough to really do it. No one swims in Lake Superior. That waters freezing.”
“It wasn’t that bad.” Asa said still smiling.
Asa and Zandy had taken off their shirts to swim but their shorts were dripping wet and we didn’t have a change of clothes for them. The boys would also be very uncomfortable in those wet clothes during the long ride home. I told them to get in the back seat of the van, take off their shorts and keep their boxers on. I gave them a towel to sit on and a blanket to cover up with. I was still looking forward to my turkey dinner. We were all starving having already devoured our snacks hours ago. Even though the Gobbler is casual dining we couldn’t go there with the boys wrapped in towels and blankets. I wasn’t going to let wet shorts spoil my dinner but they wouldn’t dry on the way home. Or could they? We had a ladder attached to the back of the van and Asa had a belt on his pants. I looped the belt on both of the boy’s pants and through the ladder. During our three-hour drive to the Gobbler there would be ample time for the pants to dry flapping in the back of the van.
Sure enough when we finally got to the Gobbler the pants were dry but to my disappointment the Gobbler was closed. We went back to the campsite started a fire and had a dinner of hot dogs and smores cooked over the flames. By that time we were all so hungry it tasted like a gourmet dinner. Tomorrow we could look forward to another adventure and dinner at the Gobbler.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by IONE L. (zaneygraylady)

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Claudia (BrokenWing) - 2/22/2007 1:44 PM ET
thanks for sharing. . .so are you a michigander too?
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