When my mother was the district president of the the Girl Scouts, we had day camp out there in the summer: Camp Sandburr. The perfect name. One time I remember hooking my little brother in the back while we were both fishing off somebody's dock. Another time, during day camp, another brother got kicked by the horse we had out there for the campers. Things happened. We tried using an air compressor on the bank and some tubing to make our own scuba diving gear. As I recall it 'sorta-kinda' worked for awhile. For a while we had a diving board made out of a bridge plank we pounded into the bank. It wasn't great. No bounce.
There were some times when we didn't go out there much and for a while we shared a cabin with the another family. When we were teenagers there seemed to be a lot of hiking around the edges of the lake, a lot of mud fights, frog gigging, swimming underwater in the pale green water. For a while we anchored an old garage door out from shore a ways and practiced seeing if we could swim all the way out to it, underwater. That door made a great diving platform. I believe it is now resting at the bottom of the lake somewhere.
When my siblings and I got married and started having our own children, Dad bought a different cabin on the lake front. In the passing years the lake had been developed into a nice little getaway for several families and cabins dotted the shoreline. No one lived there permanently. We all simply came out to visit and now and then someone would live there for a year or so.
Our kids grew up doing cannon balls off the deck, riding Skidoos and water skis around the lake until it was wild with waves. They had tremendous fun and so did we. Eventually the boats and skidoos were banned because of the noise, children grew up and moved away. Life kept everyone too busy to go out to the lake.
Danny and I lived there for nine or ten months the year our house was being built. I loved it, though it was the winter months and always too cold to swim. I pedaled the paddleboat around the lake in all kinds of weather. We had cozy fires in the fireplace when it snowed and the lake froze over. Mom and Dad added a garage, a new roof and a new septic tank.
Unfortunately we had one family get together too many out there and it ended with my mom collapsing on the walk in from the car. It is a horrible memory for all of us. After that we stopped going out there for quite awhile. Jim lived there for a while when Mom was so ill. He did quite a bit of work on the place. We put in new flooring. Jim brought out a stove and a dishwasher.
Dad and I , and then Danny and I took over the spring cleaning, the fall winterizing, the mouse hunts, the spider bombing. We had a couple of New Year's parties out there, but the light had gone out of it.
Now Able and Kari have taken the place in hand, trying to breathe life back into the old girl. They go out there often and love the peacefulness of the space. Last weekend we had the family 4th of July gathering out there again.
The traditional floaty visiting time, complete with little kids being thrown up into the air to do flips, deep sea diving for treasure and underwater sneak attacks on the sunbathers. Nothing is new under the sun.
A couple of my brothers came out and three of the cousins. Here they are, putting together the new grill while Zaneyboy watches. The little boys learned some important lessons about keeping your shoes on and always wearing life jackets.
I think everyone took at least one loop around the lake in the old pink and white paddle boat. My sister did not make it this year so I took my paddleboat tour with Audie. I loved it.
Perch were caught off the dock and fireworks blazed skyward at dusk. There was clapping and patriotic music and a group singing of the Star Spangled Banner. There may have been a tiny brush fire. I sat laughing in my lawn chair while everyone else jumped up threw water on it until it was extinguished. That is a story that will grow grander with the telling. We missed Abbey and her bunch this time around, but they were watching the grandest fireworks of them all in Washington D.C..
They will probably be around for the festivities next year.
We have some plans in the works for adding bunk beds in the cabin and installing a deluxe water filtration system. It is an ongoing, multigenerational project. All ideas are taken under consideration. Zach and Audra, Abbey and Brent are on board. I hope we spend more time out there this summer.
There are things that had drifted away over the years when it stood empty. They will need to find their way back again. Houses like to be needed.