Next weekend, I’m going to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks for a few days with my brother and sisters and all of the spouses. ‘Lake’ is a bit of a misnomer; the manmade Lake of the Ozarks is really a flooded valley and as a result, it’s never terribly wide (there are wider spots on the tidal Potomac than there are at this lake) and it’s full of coves. But for me as a teen-ager and young adult, it served as the closest thing to what people around here get from visiting the ocean.
Last week, I realized I had been at the Lake once in the last 25 years, and I couldn’t believe it. When I was younger, there were years when I went to the Lake every summer weekend, to hop bars or ride go-carts or play Tic-Tac-Toe against a chicken or catch the late-night dance cruise on the Larry Don. Then I moved away, and eventually I moved to a city that was within driving distance of the ocean, and I forgot how great a lake can be on a summer weekend. I can’t wait to be reminded again.