Our family of eight seldom went on vacations. My father drove a bulk milk truck, transporting milk everyday from local farms to a nearby dairy. There were very few days off for him, but I remember one particular summer. It was 1967, the summer before my senior year in high school.
There was a very generous dairy farmer who had rented a cottage on Indian Lake in Russel's Point, Ohio. This sweet man appreciated all that my father did for him and when he got called back to his farm unexpectedly, he suggested to dad that our family finish out the weekend in his cottage. He also had a boat that he included with the offer.
We packed up bathing suits and everything we needed for a weekend getaway and spent three glorious days on the lake. Although I had to help watch my younger sisters, I didn't complain because it was the first real vacation we'd had in years.
We had the time of our lives speeding across the lake in that boat, lounging around on the beach and ordering pizza to finish off a perfect day. The weather cooperated perfectly and most of us suffered from sunburn. But the peeling skin the following week was just a reminder of the great time we had.
A few months ago several of my sisters and I were talking about that vacation and shared the fact that most of us didn't know how to swim and we couldn't remember wearing life jackets while riding in the boat. Even my dad admitted that he had never driven a boat and there were all sorts of problems that we could have experienced.
The Lord kept us safe on that little mini-vacation and some beautiful memories were created. I'm sure that the dairy farmer, Bill Venrick, has gone on to glory, but we will always think of him with gratitude in our hearts.