so much water
“…let the water come and carry us away.” Crosby, Stills & Nash
July 1971. Lake Rathbun. Appanoose County, Iowa. President Richard Nixon has come to southern Iowa to dedicate this new 55 square-mile lake. KCOG, the little Centerville AM radio station where I work, is reveling in the moment and momentum. I’m in the studio all day, patching updates from the staffers on CB radio. Making certain advertising logs match up and hourly reports go down. My $2.10 per hour wage will be augmented by a gift certificate to the Green Circle. I have just turned 21.
May 2011. Honey Creek Resort, Moravia, Iowa. I drive into this amazing waterland resort. tucked into the coves of Lake Rathbun, with my significant other, my amazing daughter and this tiny new being named Lily. This is the third year my family has gathered at the resort–just miles from where we grew up and literally on the doorstep of our mother’s home place–to celebrate our belonging and becoming. I will soon turn 61.
So… full circle in 40 years.Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Vietnam to Afghanistan. Two marriages/two divorces. A career. A child. A grandchild. “So much water moving, underneath the bridge.” Time wasted? Some perhaps, but I’m in a pretty forgiving mode with myself, these days. “I am older now…I have more than what I wanted.” We do the best we can with what we know. And nothing confirms our worthiness better than family members who have been there, along the way. People who have seen us stumble and still believed we were worth their investment, even when we, ourselves, weren’t sure.
And, for three days, we feast on Al’s burritos, J’s lasagna, Sue’s BBQ, Marilyn’s homemade crescent rolls, Jeff and Jenny’s chocolate-chip pancakes and Angie and Jeff’s lunch-o-ramas. (Plus three-buck-Chuck wine 😉 We delight in having a clear, kind mom whose sense of humor is so selectively wicked she cracks us up, again and again. We recall old memories and make new ones. We laugh as the little ones race down the cabin hallway, screaming. And we laugh, too, as the old ones rise out of their lounge chairs, not quite screaming but still feeling those little body twinges.
But mostly, we see how the Thompson family is changing and evolving. Somewhere, Carl is smiling, we agree, to know that we are together…and we are together. The 30 of us now come from four states: Texas, California, Colorado and four points in Iowa. Getting here takes planning. And it takes compromise. Our views on politics and economics and social change range widely. As do our ages: we cover nearly nine decades–1 to 90. And we will gather again, next year.
“So much time to make up…”