By Bruce Stambaugh
After the week we had had, my wife and I needed a respite. The most logical place for that was Lakeside, Ohio, our favorite place to relax.
We had begun our annual weeklong stint at the Chautauqua on Lake Erie. Early the second morning we received a call to return home. Neva’s mother was gravely ill.
The call wasn’t unexpected. We quickly packed up and returned home. Neva joined her sister in watching over their elderly mother, Esther Miller. Esther died the next evening at age 90.
Expected or not, a death is still a death. All of the grieving emotions overwhelm family members in different ways and at different times. Time seems to stand still. All the while, the necessary preparations need to be completed. They tend to take their toll on already frayed feelings.
My wife and her sister met with the funeral home director about the services. They met with the pastor to plan the funeral. Next day, they cleaned out their mother’s room at the retirement home.
The family arrived at the church well ahead of the visitation time to set up pictures and meaningful memorabilia, followed by the greeting of mourners and the funeral itself. Afterwards, we hosted the immediate family for an evening meal at our home.
As you can imagine, it was all very draining mentally and physically. We needed a break.
Neva and I held a one-sentence discussion. There could be no doubt that the best place to renew and recharge was to return to our beloved Lakeside. The next morning we were on our way.
Despite the sweltering heat, it was good to be back at Lakeside with its lovely cottages, inviting dock, marvelous entertainment and multiple activity options.
With its shaded parks and marvelous vistas, Lakeside’s location on Lake Erie makes it idyllic. Really, though, Lakeside is more about people than anything else. From staff to strangers to long-time acquaintances, everyone is family at Lakeside.
A television reporter once did an expose on this special town. He wasn’t unfamiliar with the resort. He had vacationed there as a youngster.
The reporter knew how friendly Lakesiders could be. To prove his point, the reporter casually walked into a cottage without knocking and asked for lemonade. He wasn’t quizzed as to who he was or why he had barged in. Nor was he told to get out. No. Without a second thought, the homemaker poured him his icy drink.
On our recent extended weekend retreat, my wife and I had a similar experience. After finishing a very informative walking tour of Lakeside, one of the other participants invited us and another couple to tour her newly remodeled cottage. She didn’t even know us, and yet showed us every corner of her beautiful place. That’s just the way people are at Lakeside.
What nicer place than Lakeside is there to sit back and forget your worries? You can read a book, play dominoes, go for a lovely morning walk, or just enjoy the view while eating a refreshing ice cream cone. If you’re at the right place at the right time, you just might get an unexpected tour, too.
That’s just how Lakeside and its gracious summer citizenry are. They invigorate you just when you need it the most.
The column appeared in the Bargain Hunter, Millersburg, OH.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2012