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My favorite spot was at the very front. I loved to close my eyes, just barely, and feel the wind dancing through my hair and the sun warming my body. My brother was munching on black licorice and untangling the rope. My dad was standing behind the wheel, like a true captain, and my mom, in her wide brimmed hat, was enjoying the ride as much as I was. Nothing else much mattered in my 9-year-old world during that short but blissful boat ride from the dock to the shore.
I had grown up going to the lake since I was literally a baby. My mom told me just the other day that I was three months old the first time she and my dad took me to Angostura, a beautiful but arid reservoir in western South Dakota. Many of my most vivid childhood memories are of me at the lake in the summertime, playing with buckets and shovels, making sand castles with my brother and family friends who would meet us at the lake every weekend. I remember tying a piece of green yarn to the back of my Barbie speedboat and attaching it to Barbie’s waist so she, too, could feel what it was like to water ski. I loved swimming. It was rare that my mother could get me to come out of the water long enough to lather me with another layer of suntan lotion. I even learned to water ski at quite a young age. It came very naturally, and soon I was slalom skiing, knee boarding, and wake boarding. I will forever relish in the stories of growing up going to the lake with my family.
As I got older, we stopped going to the lake on a regular basis. My brother and I both played sports year round, so naturally every weekend was booked. During the last couple years of high school, however, and even throughout college, our family would make it a point to go to the lake, even if just once a summer. It was such a big part of who we were as the Habichts that we couldn’t let the tradition totally die out.
After getting married in June, Joe and I spent the summer traveling with our little t-shirt company; we ended our extended business road trip in my hometown of Rapid City. Our plan was to be home for just under two weeks, so my parents suggested we all go to the lake one day, just like old times. Saturday rolled around, and with much anticipation my parents and I, Joe, and one of my best friends Halley all piled into my dad’s pickup truck for the hour-long drive. I was particularly excited about our day at the lake because one, it had been almost a year since I was last there, and two, it would be Halley’s first time to try water skiing and wakeboarding. All of us had a blast! Joe enthusiastically coached Halley on how to position her body in the water while water skiing and wakeboarding. Those two had a ball, giggling and smiling in between attempts, while I caught it all on film. Feeling comfortable and relaxed on the wakeboard, Joe was doing all sorts of crazy tricks behind the boat. It was a lot of fun to see his adventurous side come out on the water. My mom and I decided that we needed to try both skiing and wakeboarding at least once, just to prove that we weren’t getting too old and that we still knew how to do it.
That afternoon at the lake was like a little taste of my childhood. All of the memories came flooding back as I sat in the warm sun, feeling content and happy. It was one of my favorite days of the year. Someday Joe and I will have our own traditions with our own children. What fun it will be to see my daughter someday sitting tall at the front of the boat.