IMG_0507Above: Grandson Sean catches a Blue Gill somewhere in CA, 2015

When I was younger, one summer my parents took their children ( including me) to Tomahawk WI for the only vacation we ever had.  Mostly we traveled to visit relatives in those days, before people considered taking a vacation a necessity.

To be honest, we really didn’t need to go anywhere for a vacation, because we lived near the sea or the mountains for most of my childhood.

The other thing I did different summers when I was an elementary school-age kid was attend Girl Scout camp. Every year I saved all my Christmas and birthday money and paid for it myself, a mere $15 a week in those days. I wanted to grow up and become a Navy nurse and I loved the discipline of Girl Scout camp.

One year, Dad decided I was spending too much time with hard-shell Baptists, and paid for the Catholic camp, Our Lady of the Hills in the mountains of NC.  I didn’t like the camp because the other attendees were unhappy girls from up north parked there for the sumer against their wills.  Mostly the resentful girls got into mischief, for example taking the horses out of the stable one night and riding around the lake to the boys camp on the other side.  Being a goody two-shoes, I was the only girl not grounded the next day.  Dad never sent me back to that camp.


Most years, I didn’t take vacations with my kids when they were younger, but living in CA, FL and Hawaii, life was a beach.  After we returned to Washington, Sundays we took the kids fishing at the reservoir or Dalton (beaver) Pond at Quantico, MCS where my two oldest kids had been born.

We discovered this fishing hole thanks to our neighbor Virgil who found an old trailer out at the pond which he used as a ‘bolt hole’ when he and his wife had a falling out.  When Gloria was angry, Virgil would take his dog Mike and beat a retreat to the trailer where he would stay until she cooled down.

Eventually Virgil and Gloria divorced and he bought property on Smith Mountain Lake in Southwestern VA, joined by the my children’s father after we divorced and he retired from the Marine Corps.

My kids spent many summers on that lake with their dad who died a year or so ago. They swam and fished and had wonderful summers out of the heat of the city.  Later, my granddaughters visited and had the same experiences.


Troy, the fellow who repaired our brickwork last winter, has been helping me repair my garden the past few weeks. For this I am very grateful, because neither David or I can do much of the work we once did. When Troy left on Tuesday, he said, “Thank you for the work.”

Seth, a horticulturist from Merrifield Gardens called me this week and will visit in early September so we can plan what I want to do this fall. I will ask Troy to help with the lighter tasks, such as planting bulbs and trimming shrubs, but I want the crew from the nursery to plant a couple of new shrubs, restore my walkways, and turn my compost bins.

With my new garden shed roof, and the new roof over the porch, and all the yard work Troy has done, I found myself without complaint this week, at least with regard to the outdoors. The indoors are another matter, but I will take care of that later.

10 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Our family had no money for vacations, and during my early days of marriage my wife and I were in the same situation. In our 50s, we finally started enjoying cruises and other fun vacation trips.

    Tomahawk, WI, where you took your first vacation, is my hometown. It always has been a great summer vacation spot. So when we kids complained about no vacations for our family, Mom and Dad told us we already lived in one of the best vacation areas, so there was no reason to go anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the memories and also your joy in the present and future through your garden. That’s the best way to be a “senior” ( dreaded word)… Remember the past , take pleasure in the present, and look forward to the future.


  3. Some of my favorite memories are those from vacation — with my family at the lake when I was a child; and with my kids at the seashore when I was an adult. But then, I’ve never lived in Calif. or Hawaii, just the boring old suburbs.

    Liked by 1 person

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