Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Return to My Youth

Yesterday morning was a decidedly cooler day after several muggy days. On my way down to Starbucks, as is my morning tradition, I hearkened back to my childhood summer vacation days on Beaver Island Michigan. Not every day was in the upper 60's there, but with the lake and fishing on inland lakes being the primary activities, when the weather was colder, it not so much put a damper on the fun of being up north as the weather would alter it. I have many pictures of me in a sweatshirt or my jacket on those colder days. The wind would blow through the pine trees and make a quieting whooshing sound. The waves would crash on the beach some 75 or 100 yards away making that wonderful background noise that only waves can make. It was wonderful to fall asleep to both and it made for afternoons of warming by the wood burning stove.

Trips to B.I. involved many things, starting with getting up at 1 or 2 in the morning to get an "early" start. The reality, I firmly believe, is that it insured that most of the trip up north, if not all of it, would be kid-noise-free as we would sleep most of the way. Once in Charlevoix, which is where we caught the car toting ferry to B.I., we would get breakfast at a small diner. That was a particular treat because we didn't eat out very often when I was a kid, partially because my dad was a salesman and had to eat out a lot and partially because we didn't have a ton of money and eating at home with 5 people was much cheaper.

After breakfast, it was time to load the car onto the ferry, which was always a pretty cool thing to see. Car after car was loaded on and tied down with chains.  It was important to know where your car was because if the waves on the 90 minute or two hour ferry ride were too much, the car was a good refuge since it moved less in the middle of the boat. And if everything was smooth, the car held all your snacks and toys!

Once on B.I. it was a either a trip to the local family owned store, McDonough's, or to the cabins where we were staying to unload the car.  Then the race was on to the beach and the water. Good stuff. Eventually we would have to take our garbage to the dump. Yep, you had to take it yourself. Soooo many gulls!! Crazy. It was a fun side trip though.

Then there were the fishing trips.  My dad would lead the charge and I would go and sometimes my mom and sisters, but not all the time as I recall. Anyway, the key thing on the lake was to not make noise, ostensibly to not scare the fish. In reality, my ol'man just wanted some peace and quiet, which is also why even though we were fishing on an interior lake, he gave me a big old Red Devil treble hook lure which was probably bigger than most of the fish.  We also used worms as bait too, so it wasn't like my dad was a bad guy or anything, just sneaky smart. Unfortunately for him, I did latch on to a 19" rainbow trout one trip and caught some other decent fish that he then was forced to clean. Good eating though!!

Those were good memories and good trips and I'm glad that simply a cooler day in June would stir up those memories.


alexis said...

what lovely memories! I think I've been fishing maybe five times in my whole life and I'm probably rounding up.

Michael Podolny said...

Sweet. Nice memories. Love stories and word pictures.

terri said...

Those are some great memories! Funny how such a small thing as a change in temperature could bring all that back to you, isn't it?