Lake Cherokee is not a big lake in Texas. Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma border is much, much bigger. Lots more water. Visiting some of the marinas on Texoma is like going to a major boat show in Dallas. The boats are big and the prices are big. Lake Cherokee has nice boats and fast boats…just not so many big boats. At least, I don’t think so. When I was growing up, I thought that the boats on Cherokee were the best boats that existed. I doubt that I had been to very many other lakes. Why would I want to go anywhere else? We could get to Lake Cherokee in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Lake Cherokee is just south of my hometown. Paradise! I learned to waterski at THE LAKE. When I was growing up, an invitation to The Lake was like receiving a summons to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. My parents didn’t have a lake lot, but plenty of our friends had one. My mom never learned to swim and a lake lot was the last thing that she wanted to buy. She would go to parties at The Lake, but there was no way that she was going to step foot in the water or even on a pier. My dad was the exact opposite. He would have bought a boat and a lake lot and actually lived at THE LAKE. Absolutely no discussions about that…no matter how much my brother and I begged. So we depended on friends for THE LAKE.
For years, we went to THE LAKE every Fourth of July for a party with some of our neighbors. We would swim, ski, make homemade ice cream, have a cookout, ride in boats going way too fast, and watch the fireworks. Our parents, teenagers, little children…all at the same party. Of course, other parties on other days were not so tame as we moved on to high school and college. You know…kids being kids.
THE LAKE had a small island in the middle. I don’t know why, but I always thought that the island was mysterious. I had a wild imagination and thought a very weird and reclusive millionaire lived on the island. The island was the only place that I considered not fun on THE LAKE. I never shared my thoughts about the island with anyone. I guess that every other person thought the island was cool.
Despite the reclusive, not real millionaire, THE LAKE was the place to make friends, have fun, and learn a little bit about independence. The day that my parents actually let me drive with my friends to THE LAKE…without any parents…was one of the most important days that I had ever experienced. There was just something pulling us to THE LAKE. We were too young to realize that being near water can be one of the most calming, yet thrilling life moments.
The sound of the water as it hits the shoreline when a boat pulls away from the dock is so soothing, as is the wind coming off of the water in late spring. Even today, I drive out to one of the nearby lakes…when I am happy, when I am sad, when I just want to see the colors of the water. As a grown-up person, I now know the dangers that lurk in the water…snakes, pollution, alligators, out of control boats, people drinking while driving a boat. I was so innocent back then. I never saw anything really dangerous at THE LAKE. My memories at Lake Cherokee are the best. I still would like to have a lake lot at THE LAKE. Putting trepidation aside, I could really have a fun time at Lake Cherokee. Even today. Especially today!