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Friday, September 2, 2011


GB2 - Blog On
#15     8-28  -  9-3

I sat on the back porch inhaling the fumes as I scrubbed and polished.  It was the boxes of gifted copperware.  Copperware for the cabin.  Blue Lake, Kalkaska, Michigan.  I drifted back to the past holiday, hot and humid.  Filled with the laughter of children.

Gasping, I hauled myself onto the raft.  Actually, it’s an old small pontoon we have converted into a raft.  It’s nice and high from the water to aid in diving.  I wasn’t gasping from the swim.  The lake is shale bottomed and spring fed. Three of the lakes springs are in front of our cabin.   I was gasping from the extreme cold.  I had eased out onto the log, slippery from use making the balancing act even more hazardous, and swam to the raft.

As I lay on the raft basking in the sun, I drifted off to my younger days. I am startled back to reality.  Julian, my great nephew, cannonballs into the water creating a massive wave.  Goose bumps cover my body!  Whew, almost too refreshing!  How I long for those days of youthful exuberance….laughter filling the air and my soul.

The log has been in front of our cabin for as long as I can remember.  Each of us learned to dive from the safety of the log, bobbing gently in the waves.  Most of the kids around the lake came over to our beach, just to play sink the log.  From a sitting position as close to the end of the log as you can get, everyone stands up at the same time.  The pressure of rising sends the log sinking…last man standing is the winner!  Trust me, if you weren’t wet before, you will be playing this game! 

Because of its partial submersion, it feels more safe to learn to dive from that proximity.  Then with confidence the learner moves on to the raft.

I hauled myself up, dove back into the water and swam back to the log.  I was determined to teach Julian how to dive.  Calling him over we sat shivering, on the log, with our feet swishing in the water.  We watched the fish swim under us as the local snapping turtle chased them.  The loons, while curious, stayed out further.  The loons are very protective of the lake and all its inhabitants.  I think they are the nosy neighbors….

I tell him a story of  his great uncle, Scott.  Scott was the local upstart entrepreneur.  He gathered worms for the local small grocer to sell to the tourists.  He dove into Little Blue and captured snapping turtles for the couple down the street to make turtle soup.  Gathering up the discarded cans and bottles around the lake, all for the love of comic books.  We would lay in the sun reading comic books all afternoon.

I recall Scott and I paddling the canoe around the lake gawking at the wild life.  We came across a female mink with her kits swimming behind her.  Naturally, Scott had to scoop one out for a closer examination.  I am still amazed he wasn’t bitten.  After fussing with the kit for a while, he eased it back into the water near the mom and we paddled away.  It was good to be strong and tan and filled with the confidence of youth.

I continue to scrub the copper bowls and pots and bed warmers gifted to the cabin.  They will be a nice addition to the feel of hominess of the cabin. I certainly hope the next generations who come to the cabin can create the wonderful memories I have.   

I’m taken back to picking berries.  The lake is surrounded by hills where first raspberries then blackberries abound.  Of course, when I was young so were the trees that line the hills.  We could look out the picture windows and see the deer on the other side of the lake.  I think about watching a buck swim across the lake during deer hunting season.  That huge rack of antlers sticking out of the water like a bundle of kindling, gliding across the water.  We knew it was blackberry picking time when the deer herded up to eat them off the bush.  Making noise, as children are want to do, we never had any problem with the bears either.

I flash onto the porcupine Scott, Sandy and I cornered up a tree.  Naturally we had to climb the tree and poke at it with a stick.  I was amazed by the porcupine grabbing the stick and jerking it out of my hand!  I clambered back down that tree lickety split! Scott and then Sandy had to shinny up and poke too.  We pestered that porcupine for nearly an hour before we tired of the game.

I grab another copperware item and begin scrubbing off the rust and debris.  This chore is going smoother than I anticipated, however my arms and hands are beginning to ache. Clean up chores are good for the mind.  Memories get reviewed and “filed” appropriately. 

Cleaning the copperware takes me back to the cabin for “Fall Cleanup”. Each fall we head to the cabin for “Fall Cleanup”.  Due to the vast amount of trees, there ends up falling vast amounts of leaves.  We rake them into piles and on appropriate evenings, burn them.  We have had numerous large fires.  Enough large fires one year the local volunteer fire department posted a notice on our cabin door stating we couldn’t have any more fires for the rest of the year.  It’s a small community.  I am certain that when whomever did call the fire department, they looked across the lake and decided it was US burning more leaves. They never did zoom around the lake to our house as we were burning.  Bob, my husband, would have had photos of that too!

I am done with scrubbing.  At least for today.  My arms, back and hands are sore.  I love my meander through my past.  I sometimes think longingly for those days of youth.  I am blessed that I have such fond memories, growing up on the lake.  The cabin is the house we grew up in.  We have worked towards updating and renovation while trying to maintain the rustic “feel” we had the privilege to know.  I tell brother Scott, “It should be easier than camping, but harder than staying home.  After all, we want all our family and friends to experience the lake, but not overstay their welcome”. 


  1. Don't you love going back. If only the young can not see it yet.

  2. Happy childhood memories are wonderful and yours sound extraordinary. It's great that you have been able to keep the cabin and the memories continue to grow for your offspring and their offspring. Wonderful post.
    Take an aleve and a nap now.

  3. How wonderful that this place has been such a part of your family's history. Someday, Julian will be look back with fondness and maybe a little bit of longing, too.