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I can have fun in the outdoors even when not fishing and hunting

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:51 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

This last Sunday was a blast. I didn’t fish. I didn’t hunt. In fact, I didn’t really do any of the typical activities that I often write about. What did I do? I just hung out with friends enjoying the outdoors from our front yard.

My wife had planned to have an end-of-year baseball party for the team that she coached this spring. If you examined the full definition of end-of-year-party you would see that it really means the husband has an endless list of projects to get done before the aforementioned party. This year was no different.

The beach sand needed refreshing, the weeds needed pulling from the flowerbeds, the grass needed mowing again, and there was one more thing – a new paver patio overlooking the beach. Yikes.

About a thousand trips to the home store later, everything was finished and people started to pull up. The kids came dashing from their cars decked in swim trunks and sporting fishing poles. It was an interesting combination indeed.

To be completely honest, I haven’t done a whole lot of swimming in the lake this year because the water has been colder than usual. I don’t like cold water. When I saw these eleven and twelve year olds burst into the deep abyss with nary a hesitation I was impressed.

Their heads bobbed up to the surface and they all had one thing in common – a smile. Just like fishing, I think it is utterly impossible to jump into a lake and not sport an ear-to-ear grin. Try it. It doesn’t happen.

Soon our kayak was launched and an endless and relentless attack by young kids kept whoever was piloting the kayak on guard. Their goal-to tip them over and did they ever. Good thing kayaks float because it was constantly upside down.

The entire time this sea battle was taking place the surrounding area was filled with the laughter of children. Not giggles. I mean deep, guttural, heart-warming laughs that are the result of pure joy. As adults, we watched and laughed with them. You would have to be a real curmudgeon to not enjoy kids being so enthralled with swimming in the lake.

After we ate dinner it was time for the adults to enjoy the outdoors. For this event, it meant boat rides. Several of the people at the party had never been on our lake or had not been on it for quite some time. We loaded up and idled around. It was so relaxing to just putter through the water and enjoy everyone else on the lake spending time outside.

This too is an activity that is just filled with smiles, laughter and good times. Water is amazing. It helps us to melt stress, enjoy time with family and friends, and it allows each of us to turn back the hands of time and recall our youth.

As with most outdoor gatherings, the time raced by and soon it was the part of the evening where everyone said their goodbyes and headed home.

Back-to-reality Monday was on its way and wasn’t going to stop for anyone. Just for a while though, the summer seemed endless and full of what we feel summer should be like.

Once the cars were gone and the laughter of the kids had faded into the night all was still. My own boys were in the house getting cleaned up and ready for bed. My wife and I patrolled the yard and shoreline for any garbage that may have been forgotten. Foam noodles, life jackets, rafts, and a lonely kayak were all that remained.

These inanimate objects seemed a little sadder if that was possible. Another evening of fun and laughter had passed. These summer toys surely understand that all too often the time in the storage shed far out numbers the hours of actual use.

The “endless days” of summer are soon coming to an end. School activities are already dotting the calendar and the high-water mark, 4th of July, has passed us by. Just for one more evening though, children and their parents sleep soundly as the relaxing exhaustion of a wonderful day spent outdoors together nestles in.

Hopefully there are a lot more smiles and a lot more laughs to be heard across the lake yet this year.

Get out there and enjoy your time outdoors!

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