I love to go to a very special place with very special people. It is about a three-hour drive from my tiny house. This lake community, which wishes to remain anonymous, sponsors an event called “Take the Lake.”
First…the Lake wishes to remain anonymous because it is an undiscovered gem. There are no hotels or motels, no huge developments, no gigantic shopping areas. There are just kind and wonderful and welcoming people who live and work nearby or who are retired. They gather at the pier of one long-time resident on Friday nights for pot luck and conversation. They play cards at the museum during the closed hours. They worship on Sundays. They drop into each others’ homes and share food and belongings. They alter friends’ pants for them, and return their wayward dogs. They make paper and books; eat fish, and fossil hunt and ‘gator watch. Oh, and there is a great big lake. It is like heaven.
Second…”Take the Lake” is a Labor Day sports event. It is fun, exhilarating, and grueling. People, and there are hundreds, spend three days participating in all or part of the four self-competitive sports of walking or running around the lake; kayaking around the lake; biking around the lake; and swimming across the lake. There are some who do the “extreme” event of all four in one day. Holy cow!
I was there to watch…not participate, mind you…the biking event. There were people of all ages and bicycles of all types. I was especially interested in the kids who were riding, and my friends’ grandsons, in particular. Kids can do anything. It is certainly wasted on the youth, who don’t appreciate the gift, another irony of life. These kids have not “trained” for this event. They just said, “I’m riding in Take the Lake.” Then they got on their bikes and rode twenty-two miles! Astounding! I love these boys. In the middle of the ride, each stopped by the house. They weren’t even considering resting. They were hungry! They finished the ride, got a disc-type token, of which they were enormously proud, and then went on to do something else physical. It exhausted me to even walk out of the air-conditioning to see them finish their rides. I did, because I was embarrassed to be such a slug among all those energetic souls.
It is an oxymoron that a wishing-to-remain-anonymous place has a very popular and much anticipated sporting event. That is so LKW. That is just another reason why I love it so much.
PS The website for “Take the Lake” is takethelake.org.