Hello from sunny Bemus Point, New York, a little town on the edge of lake Chautauqua where my husband, daughter and I have spent the last four days. Today I went off campus with my daughter and the cooks and had a real summer vacation day that I will not soon forget, nor do I think my daughter will. It started with about an hour at an old-timey amusement park called Midway, where my daughter went on a few rides, including the carousel and I watched her enjoy herself as I have for the past six years. The weather was perfect, though it would have been rather hot if we had stayed much longer, to my thinking.
Still, all the laughing kids, the sound of the roller coasters, my daughter asking to go on one ride after another, brought back wonderful memories. After the amusement park my daughter and I went to visit with one of the cooks at the farm where she lives. Talk about the ultimate children’s playground. Acres of grass, an apple orchard, a huge chicken pen with a rooster who showed us who’s boss by crowing every five minutes, a huge tree house with a hammock swung below, a beautiful white farm cat that loves people and three dogs – two adults and a puppy named Duchess – that followed us everywhere and begged for attention, and a huge garden where my daughter and I whiled away the time picking beans and peas…quite the experience. There was a lovely Koi pond complete with lily pads near the house, a hen house where some of the chickens laid green eggs (the shells were green, but the inside was the usual colour), a pen for keeping the puppy outside when the owners were away during the day, a trellis with blackberry brambles that were full of delicious blackberries (not what we call black caps in Ontario and they call black raspberries in the States, but real blackberries with wickedly sharp, thick thorns) and a huge playground complete with trampoline. Like I said, a child’s paradise.
After the wonderful time at the farm we drove down the road to the country store in Ashville where they sell pop, candy, chips and other assorted things but also have a pizzeria with the second best pizza I have ever had in my life. Before we got there though, we drove through lovely rolling countryside and ended up braking for a huge deer which leapt across the road in front of us. What a magnificent animal. After the dinner of pizza and drinking Snapple (a drink I don’t think I’ve had since high school) we took a short drive down the road to the Big Tree Soft Serve ice cream shop. What a treat. There was the usual ‘hard ice cream’ by which they mean your usual ice cream, and then there was a list of maybe 20 flavours of soft serve ice cream. What a delight for someone who always assumed there were only two flavours: vanilla and chocolate. I ended up having a small tutti frutti soft serve ice cream cone and man did that take me back to my early days. I don’t think I’ve had tutti frutti anything since I was barely older than my daughter is now.
So, we sat and ate our ice cream at picnic tables as we overlooked the lake and then ended our day with a ride back to camp with the lake always to our right. So beautiful, blue and clear. I could very easily imagine what it would be like to live right beside a lake. I would never want to leave to go to work.
Then, to top off this amazing, wonderful, very memorable summer day, I and nearly everyone else at this camp where I am helping cook sat around a campfire singing songs, listening to testimonies and watching the sunset while ducks and their ducklings swam in and out of the small ripples near shore. What a sunset. It started with the sun sinking below the hills but then it seemed the sky just bled with colour for hours. At one point it seemed as though a double line of aquamarine rose from the top of the sunset up into the sky. Three other people saw it with me, so I know it wasn’t just my imagination. The bonfire on a backdrop of one of the most colourful sunsets I have ever seen, was truly breathtaking. As the sun continued to set and the stars began to come out, bats swooped high overhead, searching out their meal of mosquitoes and other flying insects.
I am so blessed to have experienced a day like this one and simply wanted to share it.
Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.