Guest Blogger: Bill Drackett, Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board of Directors Chair


I have spent time at Lakeside every summer of my life. When my wife, Mame, came into my life, she joined me in my love of Lakeside and Lake Erie. We have been here every year since.

Our sons also love the community and all of the family time and holidays spent in Lakeside. Lakeside is a place to share and not to be held tight and kept to yourself.

My parents shared their lives with others, and that was my norm growing up, just as it was in Mame’s family. Sharing in good times and in hard times with family and friends at the cottage was always part of that.

Hard times happen when family and friends are hungry, thirsty or in any kind of need or stress; that is when Lakeside is at its best. It is a healing place in our lives and the lives of the family and friends we have at our table.

It is not just the tangible side of having someone to your table at Lakeside. It is the spiritual and nurturing gifts, just as in Matthew 25:31-46. Those acts of kindness are the most healing and appreciated, and it goes both ways.

We have gained much more in times of sharing than anyone has ever received from us. They may view a joyful gift from us as special, but in fact, their presence in our lives is the truly joyful gift.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” -Matthew 25: 33-36.

Our cottage hosts all of the normal spring and summertime holidays, but it also has hosted its share of off-season holidays over the years, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and many wintertime birthdays or celebrations, just because.

It has also hosted events when there were more tears and worry of the unknown. But, they were all important healing events, and it was because someone was there for us all.

It may be because generations of family and friends have led the way before us in the same place. It may be because of the calming effect of a hug from a loved one or the healing effect of Lakeside as we walk along the shore Lake Erie.

No matter the generation or the season of the year, there was always one constant, the Son of God was with us and in our hearts.

This Thanksgiving, our sons will not be in Lakeside with us. But, Mame and I, along with other family members and friends, will gather at the cottage for the week.

The lights will shine bright, and the fire will bring a glow to the room. There will be lots of laughter and maybe some tears of joy or even tears of sorrow.We will do it all together, and God will be by our side sharing it all with us.

Share a helping hand with the thirsty or hungry. Share your life. Share your heart. Share Lakeside with someone who needs its gifts.

Tell us in the comments below, what are you sharing this Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for? We love our conversations with you on The Front Porch.