Thursday, September 3, 2020

SOS & #52Stories 34/52: Bella Vista Vacation

#52Stories is my attempt to write 52 stories from my life during the year 2020. At least one story a week, in no particular order, to remember and document some of the memories and moments of my life.

When I think of summer and vacations, one particular memory sticks out - the summer we went to Bella Vista, Arkansas. It was a vacation that my brother won at the State Fair in Tulsa. The fact that my brother "won" this vacation for our family made it magical from the beginning.

You see, Bella Vista, was the name for a resort like setting in the hills of Arkansas, complete with a lake and amenities for relaxation. We jumped for joy when we arrived to see a large swimming pool, a miniature golf course, and colorful, covered paddle boats on the lake. Our vacation lasted for three glorious days. I think we probably swam three times a day. Our luxurious accommodations? A three bedroom trailer near a kiddie playground.

I was thirteen and my brother Karl was fifteen that summer. While we were probably beyond the age for enjoying a kiddie playground, but something about this vacation brought out the kid in all of us. There's a pic of my brother and me on a spin around teeter totter. There's a favorite picture of my dad perched atop a climbing structure grinning from ear to ear! And even a pic of Mom briefly climbing the same structure.

Our "free" vacation came with an obligation. We had to spend a morning with one of the Bella Vista agents who drove us around the area, intent on selling us a lot for future vacations or for a retirement place. There was much talk of future plans for the development and explanations of how they could help us become the proud owners of our own place at Bella Vista. It took way too long and infringed on our morning swim time, but eventually the salesman realized that we would not be the golden purchaser for him. After several hours, we were released to continue our idyllic vacation. 

We had no destination to reach, no designated miles to travel, no schedule for the day (other than the required one morning entrapment with the salesman). We enjoyed three meals a day prepared by Mom in our mobile home kitchen. We played, we paddle boarded, we swam, we laughed and we loved our free vacation in the Arkansas Ozarks.


  1. Ohhhh! You have inspired me to look at old vacation photos and to write about them! Your post was so lovely! "We had no destination to reach, no designated miles to travel, no schedule for the day.." You have described my dream vacation!

  2. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. I could almost hear the voices & laughter of those I've loved so long! My "other" family

  3. This reminds me so much of my own old family vacations. I loved the luxuriously relaxing pace of this piece. So sweet to read!

  4. Not planned but won - maybe this element took away the expectation for what it should be and allowed to enjoy what was. You have kept up with your memory stories as you planned. Looking forward to your next choice.

  5. Great memory! Growing up, our vacations were always going “down home” to visit family. I loved being with all the cousins! I remember one year when the trip home included a rare overnight stay at a hotel- with a pool! Us kids couldn’t believe it! What a time we had!

  6. Ramona! Your pictures make me smile and I love that you are still writing your 52 stories. It is such a joy to get to know you more through your stories.