Every year in July, we take a Herrington/Noller family trip to the Beaver Lake House. We started these vacations right about the time our extended family trips to Branson stopped due to my father in law’s decline in health. Happy memories with cousins, aunts and uncles playing hilarious games like Spoons, Nerts, Quelf, Furt, the Game of Things, Dirty Minds, and Buzzword, heartfelt talks on the back porch, fun boat rides with packed lunches and drinks, lazily floating on rafts in the lake, and lots of laughter. Not the fluttery kind that barely makes it past your lips but the deep belly laughter that threatens your lungs and brings up the thought “I can’t breathe!” Everything experienced here on these family lake trips is deeper and richer. I guess when 14 people are crammed in a 3 bedroom house for a week, you get to know each other pretty well.

We’ve been hoping for years my mother in law would be able to join us one of these trips, and she finally made it this time! All of our usual pastimes have been that much richer and more meaningful with her in our midst. We must never take for granted that which is important to us, for from experience, we understand life is always changing. I guess that’s why traditions and annual trips mean so much. It’s a way to keep those we love etched more deeply into our hearts and minds, as time is always moving and has a way of fogging the brain, clouding up memories that haven’t been properly dusted off and regularly visited.

I can’t always recall which memory belongs to what Beaver Lake trip, but the repetition of experience has made these family vacations as important, reliable, anticipated, and every bit as beautiful as the rising and setting sun’s reflection on the lake.

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