As the door turns – the busyness and blessings of summer

Categorized as 08/17/09 Goshen News column

Can you believe it? It’s time for the buses again, and I’m just not ready. Just between you and me, I have a dark desire to throw down a few spike strips to slow ‘em down, but my Christian maturity is holding me back. Well, that and the wish to avoid performing community service roadside in a bright orange DOC vest. It would be an ignoble ending to an idyllic summer.

This was literally the Summer of the Revolving Door, which is what Mr. Schrock might as well have installed on the back of the house. It started the first week the boys were out of school when their grandparents and four cousins came up for a week to camp. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. Bounce, bounce went the tramp. Snap, crackle went the fire.

On the Fourth of July, the Schrocks came to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. Boom, boom went the ‘works. Hee-haw went the men.

Then brave number one left to help at junior high summer camp. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. “Whoopee!” went his brothers. “Thank God,” went his mother as she watched the peanut butter supply stabilize.

No sooner did he return than brave number two departed for senior high camp. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. “Pain free!” went little brother. “Peace and quiet,” sighed his mother.

Two weeks later, the whole tribe picked up and headed out for a week’s vacation. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. “At last!” went the neighbors. “How long have we got?”

Finally, several days after our return, brave number three left for camp. Whoosh, whoosh went the door. “No one to pound!” went his brother. “Lucky for you,” growled his father.

In thinking about each turn of the door, the highlight would have to be the trip to Branson. If you don’t mind, I’d like to finish the essay I started last week entitled, “What I Learned on Summer Vacation.”

In addition to the discovery that Little Schrock is a daredevil in tiny shorts and the revelation that this mom is totally “with it (I can still do coasters),” I learned that Mr. Schrock is a fabulous vacationer. He is, by nature and profession, a lover of schedules and routine. He dislikes change. He likes having a goal and a plan and abiding thereby.

I now know that he can not only shred the schedule, he can burn it up and relax with the best of them. He did a superb job of going with the flow. He listened to the troops, took into account what each one wanted to do, and then went and did it with them. He hung out with them and watched movies. He indulged them all week before finally declaring Friday to be “Mom Day,” which meant we all wound up at the outlet mall. Worth his weight in chocolate, that one is.

I also learned that no matter where you go, you can find friends and make connections. At Silver Dollar City, for instance, Mr. Schrock struck up a conversation with the man that sold him a Coke. It turns out that this fellow knows a man in my home church in Kansas.

Then, he introduced himself to an Amish gentleman from Wisconsin who was there with his family. Interestingly, he sells furniture there and does business with other Amish gentlemen here in our area. What are the odds?

Later, I met a farmer and his wife from Oklahoma who were vacationing with their kids. We got acquainted over laser tag. In the rollercoaster line, I met a teacher from Arkansas who is also raising boys. Her husband, like Mr. Schrock, refused to have his feet flipped over his head and opted to stay with their little guy and the stroller. We should have introduced those two.

At one of the shows we attended, we met a lovely elderly couple from Iowa because of a conversation that started about two of the boys’ shirts. They were fascinated with the tribe, asking questions and sharing about their own family.

To my great discomfort, I learned that running in the Ozarks is not the same as running through the corn fields of Northern Indiana. That’s because there’s no oxygen in those hills, and there are certainly no flat surfaces. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t go rolling straight down the hill, landing somewhere in the middle of town, although ending up in close proximity to the local Starbucks could have redeemed such a terrible mishap. Further, within 24 hours of arrival, I learned where both of the area Starbucks’ were located. Now, that’s important.

Perhaps most importantly, though, I learned that it is possible for six people to spend eight days together and to come home, still liking each other. Still laughing, even. We all learned that it is entirely possible to vacation on a budget and to be utterly content at the end of the week.

Best of all, we learned that while there are very few things in life that turn out as good as you expect, every once in a rare while, it does happen. And when it does, it’s a blessing indeed.

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