In 1966, Jim and Jane Reynolds, my in-laws, first took their three young daughters – Misty, Teri and Tammy – to a rustic “resort” along Bull Shoals Lake in Theodosia, Missouri, called Turkey Creek Ranch (TCR). It would become their regular vacation home over the next several years and become a part of their legacy.
TCR began business primarily as a fishing resort in 1959. Today there are more than 20 cabins as a part of the resort. TCR was, and still is, run by the Edwards family, with son Robert and his wife Loretta taking over managing the day to day operations of TCR in 1995 from his parents, the resort founders, Dick and Elda.
I asked my favorite mother-in-law recently how they found TCR in the first place, since Theodosia’s population even today is only 261. She believes that someone that Jim worked with at the time had told them about it. That vacation, 53 years ago, has led to now a fourth generation from the family returning, with Jim and Jane’s six great grandchildren (all under the age of 5), visiting for the first time this summer.
TCR is about as relaxed and peaceful as you can get, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. They have an indoor and outdoor pool and a recreation room, featuring pool tables, a ping pong table and video games. You can take relaxing horse trail rides, long walks, fish, rent a boat, canoe, etc. TCR is also 600 plus acre cattle ranch, with 50-100 head of cattle. My wife likes that you get intermittent cell service, and Wi-Fi is only available up at the office, 3 TV stations, the closest tiny town is 20 minutes away, and it’s so dark at night that you can see the Milky Way. (You can also hide behind a bush at night and surprise/scare someone returning from the rec room). Feeding peppermints to the donkey named Sugar is a highlight.
When we’re home we get emails with photos from Elda Edwards, and at age 87 she’s still piling up wood to heat her home this winter, chopping kindling, tending to her vegetable garden, the pools and all the plants, and sending ‘we miss you’ cards to folks at church who weren’t in attendance. Her work ethic puts us all to shame.
There is the beauty of the lake and surrounding country, as well as the wildlife, which includes eagles and deer and a few water moccasins, and even a golf course nearby that we play. It’s a place where you don’t even need to lock your cabin door at night; in fact, there’s only a hook and eye latch on your screen door.
In “In My Life”, one of John Lennon’s best songs, he sings:
There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments
TCR is one of those places for our family. And since my first visit in 1981, not much has changed. And that’s one of the things that makes it so special. And oh, the moments we have had there!
Tammy and I have been vacationing with Tammy’s sister Teri, her husband Al and their children, and now grandchildren, for almost our entire married life. I know other friends who vacation with family, and I think it’s great. We vacation in different places, but have visited TCR the most overall.
In our family, like yours, we’re all different. We live in different parts of the country, go to different churches, follow different sports teams and have different political views. But when we get together for a week of vacation each year, it’s all about family. And most important of all, Jim and Jane can rejoice in the fact that all of their children and grandchildren are Christians.
I wrote about the legacy we leave recently here about a dear saint from our church who had died. At his “Celebration of Life”, his family shared about the vacations that they had all taken together. Jim and Jane have left quite a legacy with their family as well. Tammy and her family moved quite a few times as they were growing up, something my family did not do. TCR is one of the few places that she can look at as being a constant in her life. Little did her parents know when they first drove down that “Ozark Mile” gravel road that leads into TCR, what a special spot that would become for their family generations into the future.
Do you vacation with your extended family or have annual family reunions? Is there a special place that you consider your vacation home?