- A paddleboard.
- A kiteboarding kite (light wind).
- A boat (okay, that wasn't a gift, it was our neighbor's).
- Countless shovels, pails and sand castle forms.
- Toy boats.
- A six pack of Colt 45 that Brother and I tasted (warm) when we were about 12 and decided grown ups were crazy for drinking that nasty stuff.
- Half smoked cigarettes we also tried and abhorred.
- A wakeboard with bindings just the right size.
Perhaps the best find of all time, however, was not purchased in a store. A wide tree trunk, sawed in half length-wise blew in one summer when we were kids.
The three of us turned it into a paddle board, raft, and pirate ship. Playing for years with it until it finally fell apart.
It was just the three of us, summer after summer. We didn't have an iPod, Netflix, or Wii to keep us entertained. We just had endless days, each other, and our imaginations.
Now, when I try to share that experience with my children, I feel like the storybook father telling his kids to buck up, because, after all, he had to walk five miles to school. Every day. In the snow. With no boots on.
"Live without technology?" they say. "Are you crazy, Mom?"
Times have changed, but we are still always sad to leave the lake and it's not the Wii or Netflix we'll be missing. Instead, it's the endless summer days, time with family, and the gifts of the lake we'll always treasure.