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  • Writer's pictureStacy Barrett

Lake Tahoe - Our Other Home

I was 21 years old the first summer I lived in Lake Tahoe. I was a college student and new Christian; living with my best friend, serving at the local church, and working. Somehow, I got a job at a boat rental shop and began to get acquainted with boating and in a new way with this lake I love so much. It was such a rad summer job. We worked hard, but we were on the water. At that job, I learned how to tie a figure 8 knot, what the different colors of the lake meant, that the red buoy is on your right when you’re returning, and how to dock a boat. After graduating from college, my Dad bought us a boat and we’d go out with friends on the weekend at Bartlett lake - making memories, connecting, wakeboarding. Those were GOOD times. When I moved back to Tahoe after graduating from college, I waited tables and worked at a ministry in our local church and - we got to bring the boat up and docked it at my aunt’s house - which was in the same neighborhood as the marina where that boat rental shop is that I worked at in college. Which is also the same neighborhood our place is now. Looking back, I had no idea how lucky I was to have that spot to park the boat, not to mention the boat itself.

Tim & I fell in love on that boat. As friends, we’d head out on the water with a group of people first thing in the morning when he’d get off work from Safeway, where he worked nights. When we’d return, my Aunt Cathy would make us hot chocolate to warm up.

In 2020, during social distancing, Tim & I loaded our 4-pack into an RV and took a 2-month road trip. We landed in Tahoe and decided to invest in an Airbnb we could also use ourselves. We moved out of our RV & into a house untouched since the 70’s. As a family, we fixed it up during that fall semester of distance learning AND we (Tim) happened upon a killer deal on a 20 year old boat. Both purchases were happily made before the prices of mountain homes & boats both went bananas. Fortuitous timing is an understatement. I still laugh thinking about how we were the first to reach out to the firefighter selling this boat - he got 1100 looks by 10AM that day!

Yesterday, getting to drive my kids on the lake and help their friends wakeboard all of those those memories and that JOY returned. This is a gift I don’t take for granted. It’s been so fun to bring 3 of our older boys’ friends with us this fall break to experience Tahoe and our favorite things in this season. The weather this week has been chilly - which is a welcome change for us Phoenicians. The leaves are changing & it’s breathtaking. There are literally zero crowds and we’ve had it all to ourselves.

It’s fun to think back over the past 25 years about the threads and memories that have strung together to bring us to this place. The risks and chances and luck and blessings along the way. And - to sit in gratitude for the core memories we are continuing to create with our own family. These favorite people of mine. I love being the boat mom. My heart is full.

Xo Stacy Barrett #freedomchaser


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