Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Week 24 of 2014

It's a great day...and one that is appreciated far more now that I'm in "senior" status.  While I, too, think about Dad on a regular basis, my admiration grows with each day.  We Smith kids are so very blessed with the love and dedication of our parents and the ability to pass it on to our children and grandchildren.   Thanks, Dad, for your guidance, your love of life approach that included making almost anything fun, sincerely loving people for who they are, and for teaching us about the love of God through his son, Jesus. We didn't always appreciate the Sunday mornings of worship and Sunday School or the return trip to town on Sunday evening for MYF.  Oh, it was fine, once we got there.  But I know I didn't always want to be there.  Today I understand the part about rearing a child in the way they should go.  Thank you, thank you for your love of God and the importance of sharing it with your children.

I think I can answer a couple of questions from Jan's Father's Day post...

It was Pickerel Lake at Vanderbilt.  I sure don't remember it being a State Park at that time.  I'm sure it was a state forest campground, but our most favorite spot to camp, including the nightly trek to the "power line" road to watch for elk.  Pajamas, treats and some patience along with alot of "Shhhhhh's" occasionally resulted in a spotting of the large animals. How Mom and Dad hauled a bunch of kids to a clearing and got us to sit reasonably quiet is beyond me!

I remember the Orchard Beach State Park (Ludington), camping in an orchard, a beautiful pavilion that had a Saturday night dance, Janet getting lost and hearing all the adults talking about the death of Marilyn Monroe (August 5, 1962) on Sunday morning.  Suddenly, the Saturday hunt for Jan was old news...and everyone was buying the Detroit Free Press for the details of the glamorous movie star's demise.

I also remember the camping spot south of Saugatuck for very different reasons.  It was actually the Allegan State Game Area.  It turned out to be the only time Dad and Mom resolved never to return and actually called in a complaint and followed that with a written letter.  It had the stinkiest, most foul outhouses of anywhere...ever.  Mom and Dad often laughed about how bad it was and in all their years of camping, there was never a situation that was anything close to it.  We had the tent all set up and it was just too much to move....and we had made reservations there, so we stayed.  But we left early the next morning and went to breakfast at Kellogg's in Battle Creek, MI.  It was only a short drive, it smelled much better and we were thrilled to get ice cream sundaes with cocoa krispies on top for a treat.

SO...thanks again, Dad, for all the good times and for the not so good ones, too.  All of it makes us what we are today...very blessed to have you for our Father!  Love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Week 24 of 2014 - Dad and my fondest memories....

Memories like racing home on Tuesday to help him with what ever was his project of the day. One day it was getting on the roof and fixing a leak. My job was to hold the bucket of tar as he slapped tar on all the cracks and holes he could find.  I did not think they looked like holes but he did.  I was just glad I could climb on the roof with him.  While I was up there I could not help but marvel at the view from so high up in the air. You could see the whole neighborhood from the roof.

Then there's the Sunday that we got snowed in and could not go to church.  So he took us sledding instead. He lugged the toboggan a couple of miles out into the woods to our favorite sledding hill. We rode the toboggan down the hill for several hours before we trouped  back home wet, tired and totally happy after spending the day with Dad! I'm sure that Mom got hot chocolate ready for us while Dad got to have his Sunday nap. Dad introduced it to us and we all have fondly kept going almost every year since our first trip in 1962. I think that it became our  annual vacation because it was affordable back then. When you have a growing family, vacations can be expensive.  Dad needed a break from work and where do you take 4, 5 or 6 kids where everyone can have fun.  I think he would be happy to know that it still remains important to all of us.  We all like a nice vacation to an exotic place but our annual camping trip keeps us really tuned in to what is important in life....Family! Precious moments in time that we experience together!

Our first trip we drove around the lower penisula of Michigan camping all along the way.  Our first stop was Oscoda where we visited family friends, the Dievers.

Next up...Roger City, Michigan, PH Hoeft State park. 

There is a beautiful beach and we loved playing in the water even though it was cold. 

Our next stop was near Mackinaw Bridge. I am wondering if it was Mill Creek Campground but I am not sure.  I recently read that Mackinaw Bridge opened in 1957.  Our camping trip would have been 5 years after it opened!  I was amazed when I read that.

Our next stop was a few days at Vanderbilt, Michigan.  I went to the internet to look up the name of the park expecting it to be Vanderbilt State Park or something...but it is not.  I find a park called Pickerel Lake.  It must be it. It is the only park listed in Vanderbilt, Michigan...It is a state park and still has no flush toilets!

The lake at Vanderbilt was awesome and shallow.  A great place for small kids to play in the water. 

Then on to Orchard Beach State Park.  I have a story about this park.  I got playing with a new friend at the playground at this park.  I wandered off with her and went to her campsite to play with out telling anyone.  Low and behold, I got lost.   I did not think I was but everyone else did!  I guess I gave them quite a scare but I knew where I was all the time!  Mom would later reminisce about Orchard Beach and she always said  " Oh yeah...Orchard Beach, that is where Jan got lost!"

Our next stop was a park south of Saugatuck, Michigan. Wish I could ask Dad where it was...No picture to remind me.   On our way home we stopped in Battle Creek and toured the Kellogg factory.  I will never forget a factory where they made my breakfast cereal! At that age I did not really think about where my breakfast cereal came from but I surely did not think it was a factory!
I have so many fond memories of my Dad.  He taught me so many things but probably the most important thing he taught me was how important your family is.  He focused on us.  It was all about us!

Love you Dad...miss you every day!