By Doris Schroeder
They say vacation is a brief period of recreation, preceded by a period of anticipation, and followed by a period of recuperation.
When we were a young family and we were working hard to get ahead, we always looked forward to vacation time with great anticipation. We lived in our house on 17th Street and our summer days would be full with tennis lessons, picnics with our friends, 2 week-Bible school, painting the house and selling Avon and then…vacation would come!
I would have spent at least two weeks making sure our clothes were ready for the 4 of us. Most of the time we would make a one week trip to our favorite place in Colorful Colorado, and much of that time was spent in Manitou Springs. We have stayed in many of the little places along the main drive…Buffalo Lodge, Red Wing, McLaughlin Family Lodge and many others. The rooms at that time were usually pretty small but we would manage somehow. Our children loved it if there was a pool so we usually had one with at least a small one.
Of course, we all loved to do different things, so we spent the time keeping all of us busy. Hubby, of course, loved fishing so one full day, he and our son John would drive out for the day to Rainbow Falls and fish to their heart’s content. Our son loved golfing so there went another day. Judy and I knew they would be gone for a very full day each time so we planned our recreation accordingly.
We got dressed in our good shopping clothes and caught the city bus into Colorado Springs. After getting off down town, we did a quick survey of the stores and started in on our list. Of course, Judy usually needed a few new school clothes and I had a store I always found a dress. We enjoyed eating lunch downtown and by the end of the afternoon, we’d make one more stop at a popular drug store that sold all the latest beauty gadgets of that day…electric curlers, etc. By the time we got to the corner to wait for the bus, we had sacks from everywhere. How welcome to get on the bus and get seated!
The bus rumbled down Colorado Ave. and on into Manitou Ave., and Judy and I would get off at the stop closest to our room…sometimes 3 or 4 blocks away.
Then we’d drag all our bags and limp back to our room, totally happy because we had been successfully shopping! Of course if I tried all that now, I wouldn’t be able to make it! And if the men had gone with us, I’m sure it would have been more than they could take!
After 1979 we started staying at Wanda’s lovely A-frame cabin near Woodland Park and that is when the memorable times really began. It was so relaxing to stay in that cabin and look out to Pike’s Peak and even see the cars making their way down. Next week I will tell you about the twenty years we got to enjoy that kind of vacation.
It seemed that we needed a couple days at first to just unwind. Then we’d do whatever we felt like doing, either locally or driving into Springs.
By then Judy was married and would come up a few days with the boys, first Ryan and then joined by his little brother, Michael. We would feed the squirrels that visited the front deck of the A-frame, and watch the different birds come for their repast. The neighbors had a white dog that would visit us every day and life was grand. In between the boys and I would build things out of their leggos and see what we could create.
Stan, our son in law, would fly up for the week end and we would play table games like The Game of Life. Of course, one day Stan would run up Pike’s Peak in the early morning and catch a ride down and be back by 2 in the afternoon.
At that time, we were all a little crafty. Sometimes we’d hunt for pine cones and make them into owls to set on the table. Other times we’d make rock people by hunting for different shaped rocks, gluing some together and painting them. Sometimes we just painted faces on them and used them for paper weights. When I was alone, I painted with acrylics. It seemed that vacation was the time to let loose all our creative ability.
We had one squirrel at the cabin whom we called Sammy, the selfish squirrel. Everyday he would try to take another squirrel’s food away so we made up stories of him, outlining his fate if he continued to operate in this self-centered way.
Of course we don’t know if we got through to him but it sure taught us something!
That time at Wanda’s cabin was truly a “heaven on earth.” At any rate, God wants us to get away from all the bustle and enjoy his creation. It is a lovely time to reflect on all the wonders he has made for us and reminds us that He is still in control!
Doris welcomes your remarks and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org