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Story Time: The best days

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2024 at 4:48 pm

By Lorry Myers

When their kids were grown and the grandkids still young, my parents bought a little fishing place at The Lake of the Ozarks complete with a dock and deck and bonfire pit. Since they spent most of their time on the outside, it didn’t matter that the rooms were tiny and the kitchen small.

The Lake was their living room.

My parents have six children scattered across the United States. Between the six of us, there are eleven cousins, all close to the same age. It kept my parents busy, traveling between us all, waiting for Christmas when we would all get together. When the lake house deal was done, my father decreed that each summer, the Sewell family would spend a week together at The Lake. He wanted his grandchildren to get to know each other and his children to stay connected. That lake house might be crowded and chaotic, but families who play together, stay together.


In January, we would start planning for June in an effort to honor my father’s firm declaration that all twenty-five of us vacation together. We had to coordinate ball schedules, work calendars, and summer camps but knowing the date months in advance made it possible. Menus were planned, food was assigned, and the children’s giddy anticipation was real.

So was my father’s.

Dad wasn’t able to give us Disney Land or the white sand of a beach house. Instead, he would teach his grandchildren to bait a hook and then celebrate as the next generation pulled in their first fish. As a family, we watched soft sunrises from a boat and brilliant sunsets from the dock. My father wanted to eliminate the time-consuming amusement park lines and the lure of a shopping mall. Dad simply wanted his growing and changing family all to himself, if just for a little while.

“These,” Dad told me, wistfully looking across the water as the sun set beyond the dock, “are the days you can’t get back.”

A month before vacation time, each family would receive a much-awaited packet in the mail. Inside was a team roster, colored coordinated team clothing, and something called “The Rules of Conduct”. Each year, the grand finale of our Sewell Family vacation would be a day of team competition.

The Sewell Family Olympics.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard