Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sister Bay

Ever hear of this place? I hadn’t until we started attending the Addison Street Baptist Church in Chicago. Addison Street had a “Swedish” background, and was a member of the Chicago based Baptist General Conference.

The pastor there when we started attending was Aymond Anderson, a several generation Swede, I think. I don’t know much about his background, except that prior to coming to Addison Street, he had pastored a General Conference Church in Door County, Wisconsin - in the town of Ellison Bay, actually. Though their retirement home was in “next door” Sister Bay.

I say, “Pastor Anderson was a Swede”. Actually, in comparison to a few families in the church, he was almost an outsider. WE certainly were.

We NEVER felt it, though. We felt right at home. Our kids were in the Youth Group there - at least the boys were. Martha was real young. Jean attended the Ladies’ Group, and taught Sunday School. I was Sunday School Superintendent, then Christian Education Director, followed by Choir Director. We felt right at home.

Because of Pastor Anderson’s experience at the small Conference Church in the Sister Bay area, he, Mildred, and their four boys felt like that was their home. As soon as they left Sister Bay, he planned his retirement there.

They went there on their vacations, and he sometimes “took meetings” there, at the same time.

He talked about it so much, that we actually “longed” to go there. It sounded like an ideal location.

Because of my association with him in the Sunday School, Christian Education and Choir, he recommended me to the Ellison Bay Church for a week long “Series of Meetings”, in which I would preach, teach and sing.

It turned out to be, really, a paid vacation.

There was fishing, swimming, boating, miniature golf and sight seeing.

The pastor there, Harvey Clark, had a small row boat, or skiff or whatever it was called. It was a sail boat, actually, Jim remembers. He took us out on the boat whenever we wanted.

And, Jim also reminds me, we went “water skiing” for at least, MY first time. Bud and Dot Larson, members of Addison Street, also spent their vacations there. They provided a boat, long rope and several water skis.

Here’s what “Wikipedia” says about water skiing:

Water skiing usually begins with a "deep water start" or a dock start. The skier crouches down in the water (knees bent, arms straight, leaning back), with the ski tip(s) pointing up and the ski rope between the skis or, if using one ski, on either side of the ski.

When the skier is ready, the driver accelerates the boat to pull the skier out of the water. The key to getting up is patiently staying in the crouched position, letting the boat create enough force against the ski to pull the skier out of the water. Common mistakes are trying to stand up too early and breaking the straight backed, bent knees position.

In addition to the driver and the skier, a third person known as the spotter/observer must be present. The spotter's job is to watch the skier, and inform the driver if the skier falls. Communication between the skier and the occupants of the boat is done with hand signals. It is also the spotter's job to watch the skier's hand signals and pass on the messages to the driver. Speeds and length of the rope will vary with skill and competition events.

I didn’t know all of that, but I have to tell you, not knowing a thing about it, I was shocked at how EASY it was to be pulled up straight, and follow the boat through the water. It was so easy, that the first time, I pitched head first into the water.

We all had on life jackets, of course. I SURELY needed one, if I was going to live through this.

When Jim went out one time, his life jacket came off, so he had to let go of the rope, and then “tread water”. Though there was some concern, we remembered that Jim was an excellent swimmer, and in fact, had been a Life Guard at our Chuch Camp at Round Lake, IL. We were a little anxious until the boat actually picked him up, though.

Sometimes there are consequences from our good times, especially if we have not prepared properly for them - such as adequate sun screen and covering for the bare parts of our bodies.

While we were there in the “meetings”, we were provided a small “barracks” for our family to sleep in.

The problem that night, was, that we were ALL badly sunburned. Sleep with a burning back? No way. We were up and down all night.

In addition, a pair of raccoons showed up at our door, tipping over the garbage cans, and banging on the lids. Sounded like New Year’s Eve. It seems to me like they were there every night, though we tried to be sure the cans were well covered and protected.

There was a Cherry Canning Factory there in Sister Bay, or was it rather, Ellison Bay? THAT was where the church was located. Right next door to Sister Bay.

Anyway, we were given a tour of the canning factory, and watched the cherries being “pitted”, de-stemmed (proper term?), washed, sugared and canned. Kinda awesome. Pastor Anderson always said that he would never eat a “maraschino cherry”, since they were made from the rejects. Ooh. I could never quite accept that condemnation of his. I had seen too many “whole” maraschinos.

But what did I know?

We had a wonderful family vacation there, and the sun burns finally assuaged.

We’d go back again, if we weren’t so old, and maybe if the opportunity presented itself.

Oh……….I think the boys and Martha had their first experience with a “driving range” there. Somewhere, we have a picture of Jim swinging the club.

You’d love it if you could see me trying to water ski!

We REALLY enjoyed our stay there, and actually, hated to come home to Chicago.

Sister Bay.....WE LOVE YOU!


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