I am a quaint cabin that sits on Norris Lake in Tennessee. Made of wood, my rustic architecture stands tall overlooking the clear waters that gently crash into the dock. Boats cruise by, children bounce up and down on tubes as their giggles echo across the lake, and bonfires light up the night. I offer a relaxing getaway for families of young and old; grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, teenagers, and toddlers have stayed within these walls.
I can recall one family in particular that left a specific mark, and I’m not just talking about the wet footprints from the four children. This family brought an energy into these walls that had not been present before. Upon arrival, the boys skipped through the front door with excitement and ran into every room with “Oohs” and Aahs” trailing behind them as they peered out each window at the lake. The daughter walked straight to the dock to stick her feet in the water, capturing the view with her phone. The mom swung a bag over her shoulder, as her blue eyes beamed with excitement. “LIVING” in pink letters stretched across the front. Seemed fitting. Unlike their children, the parents stepped foot inside my doors and just stood for a moment in stillness. Their eyes roamed around my walls until they met each other’s gaze. They exhaled. As peaceful smiles crossed their faces, I could sense they had been waiting for me.
Each morning, the boys rolled out of their bunkbeds and scampered down to the dock as their dad followed closely behind them. The mom and daughter would stay behind to chat over coffee on the screened-in porch, laughing at the entertainment below them on the lake. There was not a single dull moment with this family. I watched them participate in countless cannonball competitions, eat copious amounts of s’mores as they huddled around the bonfire, and have long conversations as the sun set on the lake. The conversations that this family had were my favorite. They talked about the past, the present, and the future with a lens of gratitude and hope, thanking the Karen Wellington Foundation and my generous owner for making their special trip possible. They discussed the true meaning of the word LIVING, just as the mom’s tote bag had indicated.
This Karen Wellington Foundation recipient family brought a new sense of LIVING into every room of mine. On the last morning of their stay on Norris Lake, the mom tiptoed out to the dock as her children were still sound asleep. With a journal and pen in hand, she sat with her toes in the water and began to write letters to each of her four children under the rising sun. In these letters, she detailed the love that she had for them and the joy that this trip had brought to her heart.
What an honor it is to be the place where LIVING became more than just a word for this family.
By: Ashley Fasola, Scripps Howard Communications Intern