The Golden Lake Days of Childhood

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Fruit kabobs and baked beans.

Those are the two things I think of first when I recall my favorite summer days spent at my grandparent's lake house. There was something so novel to me about sliced watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries put on a stick. Sometimes my mom would even cut up small slices of kiwi, which absolutely blew my mind because it was kiwi!

I’d get mad when she’d put grapes on the skewer. Normally I loved grapes, but they weren’t fancy enough for a kabob.

My Grandma Pat's baked beans were pure heaven; a meat medley of bacon, ham, and sausage with honey glazed beans throughout. A treat she only made for summer parties at the lake.

We’d pack the cooler and drive the five miles outside of town to “Andy’s Lake.” I’d insist every time my mom point out which cabin belonged to the infamous, “Andy,” a person whom I imagined was the richest man ever to have an entire lake named after him!

My dad would usually join us a few hours later. He always had to stay home and do “lawn work,” he said. Years later, I think “lawn work” meant having a few beers alone before heading to the day-long lake party at the in-laws.

I can still hear the way the gravel would crunch under my mom’s blue Nissan Stanza as we made the turn toward my grandparent's house; the lake on one side, the Elkhorn river on the other. I saw a newspaper article once about a car accidentally driving into that river and it haunted me forever. Every time we made that curve I had to focus on the lake, fearful my mom might accidentally lose control on the gravel, sending us straight into a snake infested watery death.

I was always anxious to finally pull into the driveway because the first grandkids to arrive got their pick at the best lifejackets from the small white shed out front. No one wanted to get stuck with the enormous 1970s yellow foam jackets. I’ve never worn a koozie before, but I imagine it would be similar. I can only assume my grandparents kept those 70s monstrosities around just to punish the latecomers.

After claiming our lifejackets we’d rush the water to claim the next prizes the lake held for us, the huge yellow circular raft, the tire swing, dibs on the first tube ride!

On a humid Midwest summer day, where a simple ten minute car ride could have you sweating through your shirt, there wasn’t a better feeling than that first sprint toward the lake. Heaving yourself off the dock as far as possible, legs tucked into your arms, screaming “CANON BALL!” Free falling until you were swallowed up by the cold crisp water, a quick rush of fear as the darkness fell over you, holding you just long enough before it was time to bob back up toward the surface.

As the cousins arrived the water competitions began. Who could jump off the dock the furthest? Do a flip. A cartwheel. Stay under water the longest. We’d do anything we could to entertain ourselves while we waited for grandpa to get the “boat ready.”

I had no idea what this entailed back then, and to be honest, I still don’t know. Why wasn’t it already ready? It was in the water. It had fuel. I swear you could smell the tangy scent of boat gas that dripped from my grandpa's brown speedboat from our house in town, five miles away.

It was a smell I loved.

All that I knew was that we weren’t supposed to bug Grandpa Dick while he “got it ready.” He’d tinker on the boat canopy, or the lift it was on, for what felt like hours, while all of us grandkids sat on the dock and watched, our feet dangling off the edge in the water, daring crappie fish to nibble on our toes.

When we were just about to give up, he’d pull the brown boat out of its holding cell, cigar in mouth, and announce it was time! And with the summer sunlight bouncing off the dark water, reflecting back onto the boat, the sides of that brown 80s speedboat absolutely glistened. I remember thinking it actually had a coat of glitter on it when the light was just right.

Then two at a time, seated in a pink inner tube with a thin black lining on the bottom, Grandpa Dick would pull us around the small lake, circle after circle. We’d scream for our lives, and hang onto the handles until our knuckles were white, our small bodies tossed about when he’d purposely hit the big waves, or take a turn too sharp.

SLOW DOWN! I’d shout, desperately giving the universal thumbs down signal.

What’d she say? My grandpa would ask.

Speed up, they want to go faster, my brother would always respond.

Eventually our luck would wear out and the tube would hit a wave at the perfect spot and it would send us flying in the air, skidding across the top of the water like a pair of skipped rocks.

Sometimes tears were shed, sometimes they weren’t. We all knew that the worse the wipeout, the better story to tell the following summer.

When my turn was over and I’d take my seat back on the boat, wrapped in a towel most likely stolen from the local pool, my arms would throb from holding on so tightly. Goosebumps would travel down my legs as my wet cold hair blew in the wind as the boat picked up speed.  But I didn’t care. I was in my summer element.

Now it was the boy cousins’ turn around the lake.

Go faster, Grandpa. A lot faster! I’d lie as I watched with a smirk on my face as my brother was in the same fearful misery I was just in.

After everyone had their turn, or when grandpa was tired of driving the boat (whichever came first) we’d head back to shore.

My Grandma Pat would be standing on the slope of their yard, in her floral mumu and slip-on mules, with one hand on her hip, the other on her forehead shading herself from the sun trying to see the boat pull in. The look on her face usually somewhere  between a frown and smile.

“Time to eat.” She’d proclaim. “But first, I want my picture.

Grandma’s picture was the same every year. She’d insist all of the grandchildren line up from youngest to oldest. We knew not to fight it or our name would be, “M.U.D.” It always had to be grandma’s way or the highway.



I don’t ever recall my grandma actually saying a real curse word other than her beloved “M.U.D.” (always spelled out as if were in fact an actual naughty word,) but she didn’t have to, because she could throw a scowl that would make anyone back down.

After the photo, the adults would set out the food dishes they’d brought in the screened-porch area. I’d go straight for the kabobs and baked beans.

“Taylor, quit picking out all the meat!” Grandma would bark as she’d slap my hand away. I’d immediately stop. Until she wasn’t looking, at which point I went right back to scooping out the bacon and the ham.

I’d always sneak inside and ask to use two plates because I hated when my beans and fruit touched. But Grandma Pat didn’t stand for such nonsense, “It all goes to the same place, anyway. Now get back outside, you’re getting my carpet all wet.”

And so all of the kids would sit outside on our miniature lawn chairs, plates in our laps, as we ate our food as fast as our stomachs would allow, anxious to get back in the water.

For the next few hours we’d play until our hands were pruney, our backs and shoulders were crisp with sun heat, and our exhaustion levels hit the point of picking fights with each other just because we could.

As daylight disappeared the water seemed to grow annoyed with us and would suddenly turn cold, not so subtlety telling us it was time to get out. We’d stagger up the slimey water steps, desperately looking for any dry towel that remained to wrap around our shivering bodies.

The canopy on the boat lift would wave toward the brown beauty, announcing it was time to return to its bunk for the evening.

And just before the sun disappeared for good, it would make one final stretch over the water, as if signaling to us with a silent, “see ya later!”

As with all good things in life, the golden days at my Grandparent's lake house would end sooner than I would have expected. The lake home was sold, relatives moved away, such is the way life unfolds.

I sometimes wonder if there was a sneaking feeling inside all of us that knew the home at Andy's Lake wouldn't be around forever, because I really feel like we did our best to make the most of those days.

Or maybe that’s just my rose colored mumu speaking. I guess I'll never really know.

Several years after the home was sold, my grandma passed away on a hot July day.

She now sits in a brown bean pot, on a bookshelf at my parent's house.

And if you think that I'm just taking this time to make an oddly inappropriate dark joke, I assure you I'm not. That's what she wanted.

And it was Grandma's way or the highway.




16 comments:

  1. This reminds me SO much of the days at my grandparents lake house, some of the best memories were made there!

    Beautifully written as always Tay!

    Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
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      and also contact this man who saved my own. you can reach him through his
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      direct with his email address alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com. I thank you
      Dr alexzander for helping me and i will always share my testimony in every
      social media or place i may go to.
      (From United State Of America).
      Mrs Tracy Grilli.
      http://tracygrilli.blogspot.com.tr
      https://tracygrilli59.blogspot.com

      Delete
    2. Hello,
      I Read the article of a very great spell caster and it seems very helpful
      to me. I haven’t had the chance to have a proper relationship with my ex
      because we work together. This will be the final week or work and then I
      wont be around him constantly. Unfortunately, I broke one of the rules in
      the article and have been sleeping with him. Something I’m not proud of,
      especially since he has a girlfriend. Not to mention that she’s a girl he
      dated off and on for 3 years before he dated me.
      When I asked him why he kept sleeping with me even though he was in a
      relationship, his response was because I wanted it, and he wantve him all to
      myself. That was when i read about Dr alexzander on how he help people in
      saving their relationship and i was really desperate for his help. There
      were things in our relationship that were tough. We traveled for 4 months
      right in the beginning, and it was hard due to different expectations. When
      we returned our living situation was unstable which caused a lot of stress
      on my end. And when I ask why he didn’t give me a chance to make things
      better he said he gave me tons of chances. Oh, and he compared our
      relationship with his past. He says that things were great, and then they
      went bad really fast, and that why his back with is Ex. Because it at least
      took them years for things to get that bad. So i was very sad and
      disappointing and decided to contact this spell caster for help with tears
      running out of my eyes and Dr alexzander promised to make things right in
      my relationship and also assured me that my boyfriend is going to come back
      to me within 78hrs. At first i was shock and didn't believe him because i
      thought it was impossible to do. But i gave it a try and trusted him. Dr
      alexzander asked for my details and his, then guarantee me of his return.
      Truly my ex lover started calling me and also begging me to forgive him and
      that's his willing to give us a second chance, then promised me never to
      love any other woman apart from me. it all seem like a miracle to me till
      now. Dr alexzander. Words can't express how i feel right now. it been 2
      month now since you caste that love spell for me and nothing have gone bad
      between us. his now caring more than ever and also the loving kind of Man i
      have ever wanted for myself in life. I thank you Dr alexzander for saving
      my relationship. Indeed you are the best. I want to use this media to share
      my testimony for the whole world to see and know that there is still hope
      in your broken relationship, No matter how bad it seems don't give up hope
      and also contact this man who saved my own. you can reach him through his
      website address http://alexzanderhightemple-com.webs.com or contact him
      direct with his email address alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com. I thank you
      Dr alexzander for helping me and i will always share my testimony in every
      social media or place i may go to.
      (From United State Of America).
      Mrs Tracy Grilli.
      http://tracygrilli.blogspot.com.tr
      https://tracygrilli59.blogspot.com

      Delete
  2. One of your best posts to date - rife with the best kind of nostalgia. Happy summer!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved this post! Your childhood sounds amazing, and the pictures are priceless.!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is incredibly hard to put people into words. We're all too complex, and that's a good thing. But man if I didn't get choked up at the end because I felt like I knew just a small piece of who your grandmother was. Beautifully done.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This was beautiful! I grew up visiting "the lake" in Maine every summer and there's nothing better than summer days on the lake. Truly, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So, I don't comment on blog posts ever (I just stalk them like the creep that I am...) but this was SO beautifully written, I just had to let you know how much I enjoyed reading it!
    I'm from CA and my grandparents lived in MI, right on a small lake. And this post brought me right back to those wonderful summer times we had there as kids. Thank you for writing this!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your stories. Seriously. I can picture everything like I was there. Thank you for sharing your talent for writing and humor and just being an awesome human!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes I agree with everyone else, your writing absolutely sparkles in this piece, leaving me reminiscing on the details I relate with and thirsty to experience the ones that don't reflect my own experiences. Either way, here I am in the Hobby Lobby parking lot practically in nostalgic tears!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Some of my best memories were made out there...a place we still call home ❤

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Everyone,
    I'm from United Kingdom London, City(GB). I met this spell caster called Dr IyaryI of driayaryi2012@hotmail.com online and so many other, but i decided to go with this particular spell caster and this is about 2 weeks ago.I needed the spell caster to reunite me and my lover because she started behaving strange and a day came she text me and told me she cannot continue with the relationship anymore, that she just want to be alone.But a close friend of hers shows the guy to me that she was now dating.So i contacted this spell caster because i was totally heart broken and i smoked and get drunk till i could not even notice if am standing or lying.This spell caster told me not to worry, he gave me hope that am to have her again just like old times, and i provided all the requirements, and in just 5 days, my ex lover called me crying over the phone asking for me to forgive her for her stupid act, and she swore with her mother grave to love me and never hurt me again.This was what the spell caster earlier told me and it came after he has done the spell and that same night, my lover came back to the house to me. I have never seen spell as powerful as this but now, am convinced that Dr IyaryI is the best ever, You can contact him through him email address: driayaryi2012@hotmail.com or driayaryi2012@hotmail.com or And also Reach him on WhatsApp Number: +2349057915709 Thanks Dr. IyaryI

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello,
    I Read the article of a very great spell caster and it seems very helpful
    to me. I haven’t had the chance to have a proper relationship with my ex
    because we work together. This will be the final week or work and then I
    wont be around him constantly. Unfortunately, I broke one of the rules in
    the article and have been sleeping with him. Something I’m not proud of,
    especially since he has a girlfriend. Not to mention that she’s a girl he
    dated off and on for 3 years before he dated me.
    When I asked him why he kept sleeping with me even though he was in a
    relationship, his response was because I wanted it, and he wantve him all to
    myself. That was when i read about Dr alexzander on how he help people in
    saving their relationship and i was really desperate for his help. There
    were things in our relationship that were tough. We traveled for 4 months
    right in the beginning, and it was hard due to different expectations. When
    we returned our living situation was unstable which caused a lot of stress
    on my end. And when I ask why he didn’t give me a chance to make things
    better he said he gave me tons of chances. Oh, and he compared our
    relationship with his past. He says that things were great, and then they
    went bad really fast, and that why his back with is Ex. Because it at least
    took them years for things to get that bad. So i was very sad and
    disappointing and decided to contact this spell caster for help with tears
    running out of my eyes and Dr alexzander promised to make things right in
    my relationship and also assured me that my boyfriend is going to come back
    to me within 78hrs. At first i was shock and didn't believe him because i
    thought it was impossible to do. But i gave it a try and trusted him. Dr
    alexzander asked for my details and his, then guarantee me of his return.
    Truly my ex lover started calling me and also begging me to forgive him and
    that's his willing to give us a second chance, then promised me never to
    love any other woman apart from me. it all seem like a miracle to me till
    now. Dr alexzander. Words can't express how i feel right now. it been 2
    month now since you caste that love spell for me and nothing have gone bad
    between us. his now caring more than ever and also the loving kind of Man i
    have ever wanted for myself in life. I thank you Dr alexzander for saving
    my relationship. Indeed you are the best. I want to use this media to share
    my testimony for the whole world to see and know that there is still hope
    in your broken relationship, No matter how bad it seems don't give up hope
    and also contact this man who saved my own. you can reach him through his
    website address http://alexzanderhightemple-com.webs.com or contact him
    direct with his email address alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com. I thank you
    Dr alexzander for helping me and i will always share my testimony in every
    social media or place i may go to.
    (From United State Of America).
    Mrs Tracy Grilli.
    http://tracygrilli.blogspot.com.tr
    https://tracygrilli59.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete