Intrepid waders that we were, the girls donned their life jackets and we doffed our picnic goodies on a blanket and eased into the tepidly warm summer lake water.
It took about 20 feet of hiking through the grassy shoreline before finding the sandy bottom our tender feet were in desperate need of. Even 30 feet out, the water was only knee deep. We were a good 40 feet out before the girls were happily free floating and twinkle toed in the lake.
But the H-Two-Oh was relatively clear, hopefully E Coli free, and surprisingly sparsely populated...by humans that is.
40 minutes or so into our leisurely lake libation layoff, we all started noticing the frequent and innumerable surfacing of tiny reptilian heads in our general vicinity.
Normally, one would think that the indiscriminate splashing of a nuclear family at play in the water would be enough to send even Touche Turtle into hiding, but these hard shelled lake inhabitants actually seemed attracted by it.
The proximity of a particularly large, craggy headed beastie was enough to drive my 7.5 year old into more shallow digs, soon to be followed by the rest of the family, in need for some sustenance of the turkey bologna and Pringles variety.
When the girls had adequately emptied the crumbs onto the shoreline for the gathering turtle convention to feast on, we decided that we had had enough nature for the day and went inbound for some cabin lounging and pond exploring closer to home.
Dinner that night was to be found at a home-turned-eatery called the Poor Girls Diner. Their dinner buffet line supplied all the staples of a well balanced southern Oklahoma meal...
turkey (& dressing)
and chicken (fried)
The reason the Wife and I ate lightly was to indulge in a big ol' slice of one of their homemade pies, so flagrantly advertised on their 11x16" chalk-written menu board at the entrance to the eatery.
Coconut cream was crossed out.
Banana cream was crossed out.
Dinner good. Server (one of the poor girls?) was great. And the piece of pie was an entire 1/3 of a pie.
I'm not kidding.
Take a good sized pie, cut it into thirds, plate one of the pieces, give it a good warming in the oven, put it down in front of people and ask them how many forks they'll need to finish the monster slice. That is the Poor Girls Diner way.
Even with 4 fresh forks, two hungry adults, two semi-full kids, and two cups of really good diner coffee in thick handled ceramic mugs, we couldn't get a handle on the beast. Such a shame to leave most of the pie bone behind, but I have it on good authority that in the south, it's not too inexcusable to leave some pie crust leavin's on the plate for Miss Manners -- long as the innerds are gullet bound.
Another evening spent campfire side with the family found my wife unbeatable in checkers, my girls illimitable in their roasted marshmallow intake, and myself thinking back to how I spent many birthday eves in places not nearly as nice, with people not nearly as lovely, with thoughts in my head not nearly as serene.
Next up - the last installment of our final summer road trip of the season and how I spent my last birthday as a "creeping up on being just south of a mid-40 year old."