Sep 6, 2010

Memories in the Making

Many people love traveling because of the thrill of exploring new places, but I've recently discovered another joy of traveling -- experiencing some of my favorite spots through the eyes of my child.

There is something deeply satisfying about returning to places that are sentimental and hold lasting memories, only to make new, equally-wonderful memories as an adult. Take for instance my family's summer tradition of boating on Lake Tenkiller.

It all began over 40 years ago when my father was invited by a friend to spend several weeks at a lake house at Tenkiller. During those two weeks my dad no doubt caused a little teenage trouble, but also fell in love with the clear waters and tree-lined bluffs of the area. Lake Tenkiller made quite an impression on him, as did the boating lifestyle and water recreation in general.

Fast forward several years and he himself was a proud ski boat owner, introducing his wife and two young daughters to his passion for relaxing lakeside with an ice cold ham and tomato sandwich. My dad always says, "Food just tastes better on the water," and I grew up spending practically every summer weekend -- and meal -- on the lake.

Fast forward a few more years and several boats later, although my dad moved to Mississippi over a decade ago, he could never bring himself to relocate his boat from Tenkiller. Luckily for us that means we continue to enjoy weekends on the water even today, while introducing the next generation to our family tradition.

Some things have changed since my childhood, like the Smokehouse Restaurant in Cookson going from a hole-in-the-wall with two booths and a couple of bar stools to a building that seats over 100, but some things have stayed the same -- like their amazing barbecue and homemade apple dumplings.

Homemade pie....yes, please!

In a recent trip, I enjoyed watching Grayson and my nephew's excitement as they fed the fish (and a surprise turtle) off a marina pier. Of course, Gray chose to throw some of the fries and eat some himself, but he still had fun. Here's a rough video of the hungry fish:

Gray's other highlights for the weekend included "driving" the boat even when it was still up on the trailer, and falling asleep early in a log cabin because he's was worn out from swimming and exploring all day. He now points out every boat we pass on the highway, including one boat store which is on our daily commute. Something tells me he's going to rival my father in terms of boat obsession.

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