Lake Life

“I think the world’s coming to an end,” my sister said. “Or at least we’re about to lose the pergola.”

I’m writing this post at the lake. Yesterday it was a beautiful day. The biggest problem we had was the inconsistent application of sunscreen.

It was bad. I burned. I don’t know why, but I am terrible at sunscreen. I’ve burned dozens of times over the years. You’d think for someone with pale, Celtic skin I’d pay more attention to the sun.

But that was yesterday. Now we’re chasing after chairs on the patio because the wind is almost gale force.

It’s still nice, though, to have an impromptu cousin’s weekend at the lake. It doesn’t matter if it rains all weekend or if it’s 35 degrees Celsius. The lake is ingrained on me, same as all my family. From the rocks that make up the foundation to the tattoos on my brother. It’s a part of us.

As happens sometimes a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stooped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment. And then the moment was gone.

It’s the place where moments come and stay, much longer than they are supposed to. I grew up here in the summertime, jumping off the dock and stealing ice cream sandwiches from the freezer. That was back when my grandparents would make sure I was covered in sunscreen so that my fair Celtic skin was protected.

At night we’d run down to the lake to cool off, then sit by the television to watch whatever movie we rented in town that day. Or we’d sit by the fireplace with the missing red bricks and roast marshmallows until they burnt.

I would spend the entire afternoon looking for the perfect stick. It couldn’t be too narrow or too thick. It had to be big enough to survive being put in the fire long enough to kill off anything harmful.

Or we’d go fishing, if there was a boat in the water. I never caught anything, though they told me that I did, because it would make me so excited.

I didn’t catch a single one of these fish. I also didn’t dress myself in that Ninja Turtles lifejacket, though that is awesome. I also didn’t wet my pants. Someone else did that.

Also, I used to be so friggin’ adorable. What happened there?!

The lake has grown with me, too. When we first started going out there thirty-some years ago it was small – a little living space, a few bedrooms and a porch. Since then it has tripled in size to what it is today.

Now it’s my happy place. Last year I penned a novel and a half out there, writing in the sunroom with the million-dollar view, as my uncle used to say.

He would pour himself a beer as he sat in his chair, on the cottage on the cliff with the best view on the lake and say “this is so peaceful” as the semi-trailers roared by on Highway One.


So peaceful.

Those moments always stick out in my mind. Like when he was walking down the stairs to the lake – and there were a LOT of stairs – and the handle to the cooler broke. When we all heard the crash of the beer bottles against the stairs we feared the worst.

He wouldn’t drop his beer, after all, unless something happened. So we ran up… Have you ever seen a grown man cry?

We laughed and laughed about that. It was just a funny Uncle Norm story. Nobody got hurt so no harm no foul, right? Karma’s a bitch.

I was headed down to the lake with a flashlight and a cooler of beer when I missed a step. Now, like I said before, there are a LOT of steps down to the lake. About eighty or so. I fell down at least half of them.

Since the sun had gone down all you could see was a flashlight jerking down the stairs like it was at a bad rave.

I’ve never had a bruise on my ass before, but falling down three flights of stairs on your bottom tends to leave a mark or two.

This is the lake where my sister’s friend’s daughter (aged 7, for reference) decided that my name was Daddy Unicorn.

Where we stay up until three in the morning playing Euchre (Them: Do you have ANY idea what time it is?!? Us: 3:38. Them: Oh) or singing songs by the campfire (I’m playing guitar whether you want me to or not, Lisa).

Where the sun always comes out on Sunday night, because that’s when I have to leave the cabin.

Where we can sit on the inflatable island and talk all day, or we can sit inside and play Asshole (it’s a card game, simmer down over there).

Or Cribbage (Pabo always tried to steal my crib). Or Skip-Bo. Mamo always loved her Skip-Bo.

There’s really only a couple of constants: Brunch on Sunday morning, and cold beer in the fridge. I can’t wait to go back.

What did we learn this week?

  1. New York is bigger than Winnipeg. Yeah, I know, that goes without saying. But hearing the reactions from last week’s post I’m reminded about how much bigger it is. Everyone has their own special NYC moment, same as I will in a few months. Even if you don’t, you know the city from television or literature or whatever
  2. An island with a hole in it is still an island. Don’t @me if it starts sinking
  3. I suck at keeping up on social media. Sorry, Twitter fam.
  4. I thought this post would be funny. And it is, kind of. I guess that’s the thing about nostalgia, though.
  5. Only a month until New York. I might blog about it. If you’re lucky.

Later days,


One thought on “Lake Life

  1. Hey there! Lovely to read this and visit your memories. Didn’t know about NYC. You know that’s one of my happy places! We are long overdue for a chat. Love ‘ya


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