Working a lot this week on "where I'm going," but before I forget, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about where I've been.

I mentioned in my Odd Day post that we were headed for Camp Akita for our annual family camping trip in the Hocking Hills.

Today, I'd like to tell you about Camp Akita and what it means to me.

1992- City boy Jimmer, and his lovely wife Netter head off to a place she describes as one of her favorite in all the land. "It's not your normal camping," she tells him. "You'll have fun. I promise."

Cautiously I had agreed to the trip, but as you can see I was not doing such a great job of putting up a good front.

"You want me to do what?!?"

Netter, on the other hand, was obviously very happy to be sharing this place with her husband.

"Come on! It's fun. I promise!"

When we arrived, I could see that Netter was right. This wasn't traditional camping at all. Our cabin slept 10, had 2 full bathrooms, and a complete kitchen.

"Okay," I thought, "I can live with this."

The first night we walked down to the lake to do some fishing.

FISHING?!? I hadn't fished since I was a little boy, I'd only been twice in my life, and frankly worms gave me the heebie jeebies.

Still, I had promised I would try everything. Patiently, Annette and her Dad began to try to teach me how to cast. It didn't go so well. I've told this story before in a post last year.

Essentially, Dad and I just needed to come to an understanding about the expectations of a first time fisherman.

Once we had gotten that out of the way, Annette informed me that we were going to take a canoe out fishing. As I said, I was in for the whole nine yards so off we went.

Wouldn't you know I caught my first fish on my fourth cast. I still point out the spot to Annette every year and talk about that fish like it was the thrill of a lifetime because, well, because it was.

I've caught a lot of fish since then, but I don't think I've ever felt so elated, so happy as I was when I caught that first one.

Every year Akita still makes me that happy.

You know that place where you can go and know you'll be happy no matter what, that place that you can find peace and feel like you're in control, or that sometimes it's maybe okay to not be in control?

You know how sometimes you don't care about a schedule, or a clock, especially a clock, and you're tired of the television, and the technology and you just want to find some peace for your mind and your body and your soul?

Go to Akita.

That's what I do.

What time is it? How 'bout breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, to read a book, to take a nap.

To draw a picture,
Time to go fishing,

Time to go on a hike,

Time to take your dog for a walk or a swim.

Time to go for a ride in a canoe.

We have made this trip almost every year since 1992.

We go on Mother's Day weekend, and celebrate Grandpa's birthday, (and later my nephew Joe Joe's).

We play games. We watch movies with Grandma. (There is a DVD player, but no television reception.) We do jigsaw puzzles. We make fun of the snorers. (Yes, that includes me.) We laugh when Grandma goes to bed early and says we're not to have fun without her.

And we smile when we find the notebook full of stories about people who come to Akita to do the very same thing at other times of the year.

I often talk about the peace I find on the ice when I'm skating, but that's fleeting, only an hour or so long.

The peace of Akita lasts far longer than that.

It's a special place, a special time - and I'm glad that Netter made me go those many years ago.


debi said...

Awesome Jim!!! I am in tears!!!
You described it perfectly!!

Mom said...

Have to agree with Debi! A trip to Akita is special all by itself but a trip with family is the best!

Jim Brochowski said...

Thank you both for commenting. I'm glad you liked the post.

I actually contemplated not going to Akita this year because I am so busy right now. (The girls would still have come.)

As soon as we got there I knew I made the right decision to go.

I really do love that place and we had a great time this year as always!

Love you both!

Maureen said...

I really love this post--and the pictures! It gave me the feeling of thinking of another place in this world as "home." I feel that way about a little cabin my parents rent up in Michigan every year. We're usually only there a week out of the year (2-3 days now if we can swing it) but being there is so comforting to me.

And I love how you let yourself go (not THAT way, the good way:), following the traditions/activities of Netter's family--and have now come to embrace them. That's really awesome!

Jim Brochowski said...

Thanks Mo!

It is alot like home. In fact, that's a perfect analogy. Akita is a home away from home.

I had so many pictures to choose from. I could have done pages and pages. It was a little overwhelming really.

Let myself go eh? You've seen this gut then? ;-)

I am proud and lucky beyond my wildest dreams to be a part of Netter's family and share in our traditions.