so much water

By kateandcarla

May 30, 2011

Category: Uncategorized


“…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…”


5 Responses to “so much water”

  1. I told you this would be a another good one. I expected nothing less. Was so good to see you and Kate and Lily. She’s a peach……they both are. Aren’t these family gatherings fun?? The Alley get together is planned for July 4th weekend. They will start gathering in Corydon on June 30 and the last will leave on July 5th. Yes, it takes lots of planning and some sacrifices, but we have such a good time. Hope you got lots of Lily/Kate time and that you don’t have to wait too long for your next fix!!! Now back to the real world…….

    • They are fun…and so much more. I also love the way you pick up little bits and pieces of information that weave together much bigger family stories. And just the hanging out time. So glad your family does the same. Are you taking that week off to be with everyone? So good to see you…and yes, Kate and Lily are pretty peach-able. 😉 C.

  2. Oh yes, I’ll be off work that week…….and a few days before to prepare. My house is “grand central station”. Dean’s family stays at motel, Becky’s @ my house and Seymour grandma, Dwight’s family at their place & my kids in their own homes (Scott @ Bruce’s). We are sharing the meals this year. I shared your way of doing so that will help me out alot. The month of June will fly by.

  3. You share your memory of the inception of the lake at the same time as you share your experiences of the lake now. And you mention bits of a song that is sure to carry all your friends “of a certain age” back to the beginnings of our adult lives and to all that has come to pass for all of us and each of us since we first heard it. Layers and layers of meaning and memory. Yum. And wouldn’t it be a treat to know what CS&N think of their own words now and the many layers of their lives since they first sang them? (Is it getting heavy in here or it just me?) : )

  4. Family get togethers are always so open to learning many things. All those discussions are bound to bring up memories and even tidbits that you didn’t know or had long forgotten. I was camping at Lake Rathbun….sure wish I’d known you were close by.

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