Stefanie Cope

Staff Writer

Another holiday has come and gone and I am glad to say that I had a chance to spend this one with family members I do not have a chance to see very often.

I went through a point in my life where I was not spending very much time with my family. Especially my immediate family. I was in my second year of college when I really started to branch out. I was living with my significant other and spending less and less time with my family.

What I did not realize about spending all of this time away from them and not communicating with them was I was missing out on some very memorable experiences. There were camping trips I missed, birthday parties, and other family get-togethers.

Because I live with a motto of “no regrets” I have made it a point now to spend as much time with my family as I want to. I have gotten to a point in my life where I am trying to spend more time with them.

I am busy and still miss out on certain trips and activities, but I have been spending a greater amount of time with them and it makes me feel very happy to be with them.

I am a lucky girl with the family I have. They are supportive, fun, a little crazy at times, and just a genuinely great bunch of people.

This Fourth of July weekend, I took a little trek to Emporia to visit some family. My aunt and uncle have a house on Lake Kahola, so it became our destination.

My maternal grandparents were at the lakehouse with one of my cousins from Florida as well which was exciting for me. It has been a while since I have had a chance to see any of them. My job keeps me busy currently and before that school kept me fairly busy, so this became an opportunity I could not pass up.

Arriving at the lake I was hot and sweaty, my car has been having some problems with the air conditioner, but dad came to the rescue and it has been fixed and is running fine, so all I could think about was jumping off the end of the dock into the lake. I made my hellos and set to giving hugs and finding out what everyone had been up to, you know standard procedure. Then I was headed for my swimsuit. It was time, the lake had been calling my name since before I arrived. Then it was a mad rush between everyone, get your suits on and get into the water, it was far too hot to just be standing around.

That is one thing I love about this lake, everyone has a dock and people will just swim in between them, float over or I saw a few people paddle over in their rowboats and canoes. The weekend had instantly become a relaxation heaven for me.

Our next adventure was to take the boat out and do a little “tubing”. If you have not been “tubing” you should give it a try sometime. You pull an inner tube with a cover on it and handles behind a fast boat and hang on for dear life as you get whipped around the water.

I took my turn a few times and I was definitely feeling the use of muscles I had not used in a while on Sunday, but it was a complete blast. I had forgotten how much fun going “tubing” is.

The night ended with a spectacular fireworks show put on by a few volunteers. The show was beautiful and it really made for a nice end to the night.

So I hope everyone had a wonderfully relaxing Fourth of July spent with family and friends. I know I did and it was amazing!

(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. She can be emailed at