For those of you who aren’t part of my email crew, here are my summertime thoughts…
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For me, the smell of flowers and freshly mown grass wafting through open windows always triggers nostalgic feelings of being a kid looking forward to outdoor fun and freedom from school…
Among my fondest summertime memories from childhood are family picnics at Eagle Point Park. Located in Dubuque, Iowa, the park is built high on a bluff above the Mississippi River with magnificent views of Wisconsin and Illinois across the surging waters. At the base of the steep overlook is Lock and Dam #11, where, if you’re lucky, you can watch the spectacle of a boat or barge being raised or lowered to continue its journey on the river.
Photo courtesy of SD Dirk
As a kid though, the prime attraction at the park was definitely the spray pool – a wading pool with a fountain jetting upward in the center. My siblings, cousins, and I would run around in the shallow depths under the rain of cold water while we played tag or simply tried to find each other among the hoard of kids.
Once we were cooled off, our second favorite spot was “the cave.” Part of the beauty of the park is the way the stone and wood pavilions are built into the hilly landscape. Near one building, a stone stairway leads down into an arched passage that to a kid’s eyes, is a cave. Because there were ledges inside the tunnel that we could crawl on, we liked to pretend we were lions protecting our den. I also recall staging superhero and cops and robbers scenarios there.
You’ll understand then, why I couldn’t resist having a scene in the Thunderstone sequel happen at Eagle Point Park. A family picnic at the end of the river cruise seemed like a fitting wrap-up to Jeni, Ice and Tyler’s latest adventure on the Mississippi River.
Next month I’m attending a family wedding that takes place in the park. My cousin is getting married in the same pavilion where her parents were married. The anticipation of being at Eagle Point Park with my extended family is stirring up some of that same summertime excitement that I had as a kid and I’m greatly looking forward to the trip.
I hope you, too, experience some childlike joy during your summer!