Like the Native Americans who first lived around her, the beautiful waters of Lake Okoboji will always be sacred to me.
I now live in a land of 10,000 lakes, but there's only one lake for me, and it's in northwest Iowa.
Growing up, my family would spend two weeks straight every summer in a cabin on West Lake Okoboji that we rented for somewhere in the neighborhood of $7/night.
And not only was it my family there, but it was my extended family. And by extended family I don't mean uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, et al (of course they were there as well). My extended family in Okoboji was my friends of the same age, all of us finding our way through the world of childhood and adolescence, and all of us feeling freedom for the first time.
Whether it was a night of playing card games inside, or telling ghost stories on the docks at midnight, or a fun afternoon of swimming, boating, skiing, or an outing to Arnold's Park for the tilted house, the roller coaster, or the legendary fun house...Okoboji was always an adventure.
For the people who were there - many of them on Facebook -Jeff L., "Keeks", Tracy H., Lisa R., I challenge you to think of a more pure, more innocent, more exciting point in your life than then. No responsibilities, other than making sure we had enough money in our pockets for a few games of skee ball and taffy from the boardwalk.
Like summer itself, Okoboji represents to me the best of the best. The warmth of the hot July sun seemed to always beat down on us at Okoboji...and for the days it didn't, well there was always a good game of pictionary, or that book you wanted to get to, or if not that, a trip to the Emporium to buy crap you'd never have a use for again.
Hearing "Little Red Corvette" for the very first time. Watching the cars cruise the loop past the cabin every night. Cruising the loop past the cabin every night when we were old enough to drive. Tasting my first sip of purple passion, and then spitting it out. Falling for a girl, only to think that my world was over because she liked another boy.
If I could make a virtual time capsule of my life, it would be Okoboji in the 1980s.
I'm proud to say that I'm a graduate of the University of Okoboji. And I'm thinking it's about time for a class reunion.