Vacation 2011

We just got back from vacation.

On an easy, tranquil bay on the east side of Lake Huron, sits a cottage. It was built by my wife’s grandfather in 1944 on the banks of clear, cool Great Lakes water.

It’s the most restful place on earth to me.

En Route my first trip, I asked, “Now, what do we do up there?” She just smiled and without words said, “Just wait.”

You have to want to get to the cottage and now, come the sweltering days of summer in Houston (And yes, they came early this year. The day we left to fly north, the temp in Houston was 103.) it doesn’t take much to want to.

We flew to Cleveland and then on to Buffalo where, upon exiting the prop plane onto the tarmac of the Buffalo airport, we took a deep breath of that refreshing 77 degree air and let out a contented sigh and a muted “whoo hooo!

Some people stared.

The drive from Buffalo to the bay is about 5 hours through the Canadian countryside.

It’s beautiful. You know you’re in Canada when you (as we always seem to do) make your first rest stop at Tim Horton’s for a fresh muffin and cup of coffee. When they hand you your change in blue bills and silver coins with bronze centers ($2), you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

The cool weather was a great relief and at the risk of starting some of you to grumblin’, I’ll just say it was nice to sleep under heaps of blankets and wear sweatshirts and ski caps most days.

Returning to Houston and getting off the plane at 11 PM, it was still almost 90 degrees and it just took our breath away. . . . I mean, literally, it was hard to catch a breath.

Ah, but home is home and it’s sweet.

When I was a kid, vacation meant one thing and pretty much, one place. I don’t know how many years we went to the Florida panhandle and spent a week at The Sunny Sands on Panama City Beach, but they were always some of the best of times.

There were no iphones, Blackberries, laptops or any of the things that go with all that to break into our retreat. It was family time and it was some of the most concentrated, uninterrupted fun of the whole year.

One of the things I love about the Cottage in Canada is the lack of stuff or complicated activity. The days start as early or as late as you might want. Usually with a cup of coffee on the patio overlooking Lake Huron, some tremendous quiet and some good conversation.

Last year, I dialed into the fishing and caught some good ones. This year, we were early and the bass “season” wasn’t started yet. You could catch other stuff . . . just not bass.


I hope everyone gets a break this summer. Wherever you are and whenever you can grab it, go! Leave some of the junk behind. Be brave and turn off the cell phone. Odds are, you’ll find the sun continuing to rise, life going on in your absence and possibly, you’ll make some lifetime memories. At the very least, get some rest!