City Folk in Ozark Country


Its been said that there are two kinds of people in this world; those who love the fast-paced hustle of the big city and those who enjoy the slow pace of life in the country. I prefer to believe there is a third category for those of us who like to dabble in both. Home, for me, is minutes away from some of the best beaches in the world in a thriving metropolitan downtown. There are fancy places to have dinner and go for a night out, concerts are always coming to town, and you can have your choice of sporting events. Yet, when the hot summer days feel endless and the ocean feels more like a warm bath, I find myself longing for the Lake of the Ozarks.

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The Lake of the Ozarks

My family has been going to the Ozarks since I was a kid. My dad would come home early one day from work ready to take on the job of packing the van. It might not sound like much, but even UPS would be proud of how he managed to fit everything my mother had determined was absolutely necessary into our poor family Chevy Astro. It helplessly sat about two feet lower by the time they were done. The four of us kids would help each other lift some of the stuff to find the buckle for the seatbelt and off we would go.

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Wheel Inn Drive-In

The first hour and a half of the trip is pretty normal. Coming from Kansas City, you take the luxurious four lane interstate to Sedalia, Missouri. We would stop at the Wheel Inn Drive-In for a Guberburger. It’s a hamburger topped with peanut butter and it was delicious. The restaurant has since closed and is now up for sale after being a Sedalia staple since 1947.  Bellies full, we would press on about ten minutes to the short cut where the ride got real fun.

Roads to the Lake of the Ozarks are narrow and winding. Try to text on Highway 5 and you’ll likely find yourself in a ditch. Go too slow and a giant pick-up will haul passed you with a trailer full of who knows what. The overly packed Chevy Astro grunted its way up and down the hills as we yelled for my dad to go faster and give us that roller coaster affect that happens when you hit the uphill at a good speed.

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The author’s family relaxes at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Finally, after what felt like forever, as most things do to a ten-year-old, we arrived at the condo. At night, the lake is so dark you can see the Milky Way. It’s a beautiful calm that makes you wonder what Huck Finn thought when he was coming down the river. Days at the lake are simple. Cool off in the water with your beverage of choice and watch the big boats go by. I would sit on the patio, sip a lemonade, and read a good book or two. We would fire up the grill for dinner, go to bed, and start all over again the next morning.

Life at the Lake of the Ozarks is tranquil. Everyone waves to everyone else and you have a sense of joint appreciation for this special place. To this day, my favorite childhood memories are at the lake.

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The author’s daughter on her first trip to the Lake of the Ozarks.

As I write this blog, I’m sitting on that patio watching the boats go by and listening to their hum. My tiny baby girl is asleep in the bedroom and I’m thinking of all of the fun we are going to have as she discovers summer at the lake. There is no internet here and there never will be. That’s the whole point of our little place at the Lake. Life is simple here, there is no schedule, it’s just about being together and pausing for bit to remember that life doesn’t always have to be in the fast lane. Now, I’ve got to figure out how to turn on my hot spot to post this blog.

 

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