The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture
When you’re as busy as I am, vacations become imperative to your mental health. And this past weekend, I had a rather unassuming little getaway.
People from DC might not be familiar with Guntersville, Alabama. It’s a small town in the northern part of the state and home to Lake Guntersville, one of the most picturesque lakes in the country. I headed down with a few folks to visit my good friend Haggie at his childhood summer camp, Ruth Haven. My flight landed just a few minutes past cocktail hour, which was a few minutes too late. A familiar voice had already left a voicemail, letting me know the daiquiris were already blending away.
The two-way highway did not help me get there any faster. I spotted a sign on my turn that read Caution Dear Crossing, and just by the spelling and image, I knew I was deep in the rural south. The playboy burlesque design had me questioning where I was heading to now. A mile or two longer and a welcomed wave guided me where to park and at last I had arrived! I threw on my Speedo like an Olympian and kissed everyone hello. Then I turned to that beautiful lake. I had to pause for a minute, because the lake just takes you back.
I ran downhill to the dock, picking up speed and breaking the glass water surface with a cannon ball. The sun was sinking lower as I tread the cool lake water, and childhood memories came coursing back. I remembered the summers spent splashing around with Juliet, my childhood best friend. We were camp counselors at her Uncle Jimmy’s summer camp near Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. We taught campers how to ski, build bonfires, put up tents—everything a good tomboy does well.
I can remember those days, waking up as the first rays of sunlight streamed through your window. The permanent swimsuit tan and blond streaks were signs of a great summer. Haggie, his boyfriend and I splashed around in the water like we were kids again. Some of the people we were with never got in the water. They just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that peaceful reverence that comes from being at the lake. The kind of appreciation a Southern childhood breeds. Although that doesn’t mean it’s an appreciation that can’t be taught.
Throughout the weekend, we brought out the water toys! I coaxed one of the other gals (Amber) onto a Jet Ski with me, and she turned out to be a pretty good partner in crime. Haggie and I tried our hand at water skiing—one of my favorite pastimes—and let me tell ya, this girl’s still got it! (Haggie’s attempts at slalom were another story).
All in all, the weekend was a breath of fresh air. It was a trip down memory lane and a time for kindling beloved friendships. Sometimes a trip back to the past brings a little perspective to the present. Just my thoughts, take it or leave it.
I’m Simone. And this is what simone sez…