Seaweeds and Boats


Green Bay. A really big lake.

I don’t currently live on a lake, but I grew up on a lake. A large lake. In fact, people are fond of saying that it’s the largest natural lake in Indiana. My summer job, all through high school and part of college, was on another lake. If you’ve not spent much time on a midwestern lake, you won’t understand. Or at least you won’t quite get what I’m talking about. If you grew up on a lake or spend lots of time on a lake, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sometimes I’ll be working in the backyard, fully three miles from the nearest lake, and I’ll hear a car go by on the the highway on the other side of the golf course. For an instant, it will sound like a boat on the water. Maybe it’s the noise of the engine. Maybe it’s whine of the tires. Whatever it is, I’m instantly transported to my years of living and working near a lake. I can easily imagine that just behind the row of trees is a body of water with a boat on it.

Here are a few things that I can readily remember about lakes:

oil on the water
skinny dipping
swimming at night
pontoon boats
outboard motors
skipping stones
seaweed wrapping around your calves
rubber rafts
Conservation officers
the boat-in root beer stand
The Frog
the channel
life jackets (not PFD’s)
ski belts
Oakwood Hotel
beach towels
Mock’s Marina and the cold, clammy cement floor
walking on the seawall down to Susan’s house
fireworks on the water
walking down to the lake
boat lifts
fried catfish
suntan lotion

Seeing, smelling, or reading about any of these things will trigger strong, unbidden memories that transport me back to Lake Wawasee and Dewart Lake. I don’t fully understand the reasons, but I like lakes and dream of living on one again.

Did you grow up on a lake? Live on one now? What do you remember? Tell me about it….