Lesson learned during relaxing weekend get-away: Never say never


Sometimes, it is hard to imagine a different life, the possibility of the sun shining just as brightly in an entirely new place.

No retirement

My hubby has always said he has no desire to retire — he loves what he does, he is constantly challenged in a great way every single day. It has always seemed that how our life is now, is as it always will be. We are busy in our jobs, busy here on the farm, and we keep swinging at the pitches that come our way.

Yesterday, for the first time ever, we had a glimpse of what just might be even better.

Weekend visit

Scott and Bonnie Mendenhall are longtime friends who had invited us to visit them in their new home many times. Five years ago, they both retired as life-long educators in the school district near here, and moved from their home in this area to a lovely place they had built in Apple Valley.

Apple Valley

Apple Valley is lovely beyond description, but I will try.

When we arrived there Saturday morning, we met at the boat docks. Scott and Bonnie worked at getting their beautiful boat ready for launch and we hopped aboard. It proved to be a great way to see why so many are drawn there. We were able to see magnificent homes, docks often just as pretty as a welcoming front porch, and friendly smiles and waving arms as we passed by.

We all had to laugh as we watched children slide down sliding boards from individual boat docks, happily dropping into the water, a smiling and brave young boy jumping off the roof of a boat dock into the water, adults lounging and reading in the morning sun, family dogs jumping in for a morning swim.

There are sandy beaches complete with playground equipment on various places along the 3-mile-long lake, humble homes surrounded by newly remodeled mansions.

I lost track of how many times I was in such awe that I was speechless. One amazing sight was replaced by yet another. A huge heron stood on a pier. Ducks floated about, bobbing in the wake left by boats and jet skis passing by. I lost track of how many times I simply said, “Wow.”

When we docked the boat, we headed for a restaurant in Mount Vernon. Our daughter, taking classes there, was able to meet us for a nice lunch, which made an already great day even better.

Good visit

Scott and Bonnie shared their lovely home with us, and we had the chance to play ball with the Westie they had gotten from us a few years ago. We visited Bonnie’s mother, who also lives in Apple Valley, and the Westie that Bonnie had gotten for her parents when her father was near the end of his life.

Amazingly, it felt like home. We hated to leave. As we said our good-byes and headed out of Apple Valley, Doug said something I never thought I would hear from him.

“I am amazed by this place. I could see us living here when we retire.”



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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.


  1. Lovely description, glad you got to go!

    I’ve moved more than most– and I have to say– there is a major difference between visiting somehwere, and actually living there. This is the mistake too many make. THE most gloriously beautiful and breathtaking place on the earth is — Alaska. I say this since I have not actually SEEN Bora Bora (yet!) Living in Alaska, however– is very different. I know, I did live there 3 years. I NEVER want to see snow again! I want to live in San Diego- I think. Have you ever been there?
    It’s certainly lovely to visit! But, how would it be to live there 24/7? Hmm?

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