Don’t rain on my parade!

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

For nearly a century, our family has gathered at Compass Lake for our Fourth of July celebration. The traditions have changed over time, but consist of lots of food, fireworks and the annual Boat Parade. The Boat Parade is at night; with boats decorated with lights and playing patriotic music slowly progressing around the lake to the delight of people sitting on their docks.

This past July 4 holiday was probably the most unusual in my lifetime. Everyone arrived on Tuesday, the same day the rain set in. The rain gauge indicated four inches the next morning, the first of the 10-plus inches we would receive over the next few days.

There were four generations in the house and the social life of the collective group pretty much revolves around being outside and in the water. That wasn’t going to happen on this particular vacation.

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What did happen was a transformation of the way we normally have fun at the lake. By the departures on Sunday, everyone was amazed at how much fun we all had.

Eating became one of the primary activities. The small kids made cakes and decorated them “for America’s birthday.” Cupcakes were decorated by all four generations.

The new Ninja Power Blender made its debut. Literally hours were spent making smoothies of every possible combination for everyone to taste and judge. Some were very, very good and some were quickly thrown away. Kiwi and spinach, anyone?

Old board games were pulled out, many not played in decades. Life and Clue were once again the center of heated competition. Jigsaw puzzles were being completed at the rate of one per day.

There is never a shortage of naps taken at the lake, but it became an epidemic this time around. The steady sound of the driving rain on the metal roof made everyone nod off at one time or the other.

One interesting side effect of the continuous rain is that things needing repair began to get fixed. There was no excuse about doing something when you had time. Time was about all we had.

There was time to rock in the hammocks with grandchildren. There was time to sit under the roof on the dock for hours on the dock, just talking and watching the rain. It was chilly enough that people were wrapped up in blankets on the Fourth of July. How bizarre is that in this part of the world?

Everyone checked their iPads and iPhones regularly to see the weather forecast. We finally gave up as the rain seemed to never stop. If there was even a fleeting moment of no rain, the boats immediately hit the water pulling people on skis, wakeboards, and tubes. Kayaks seemed to appear just minutes after any break in the rain.

In the end, we did what we always do, just in a different way. We enjoyed time together with our extended family. We relaxed and had fun. As Barbra Streisand sang in Funny Girl, we didn’t let it rain on our parade.

Dan Ponder can be reached at