A couple weekends back we drove to Michigan to attend my cousin’s graduation party (known as an ‘Open House’ in those parts). We spent most of our days either watching crappy reality tv, shopping at Meijer, playing with my cousin’s dog, Ari, and her two bad kitties, and hanging out on the deck huddled around the electric mosquito repeller, eating whatever Sly cooked for us.
And then of course there was my cousin’s open house which nearly rivaled our wedding with its tent of catered food, a three-tiered cake, a photo booth, a sacrificial pinata, paddle boats, and to top it all off, a bouncy house. After watching the kids behead the donkey pinata and after stuffing our bellies with tacos and more cake than I have ever eaten in my life, we decided to take the paddle boat out on the lake and watch the sun set behind the trees.
As for the rest of the evening — lets just say there were a bunch of teen-aged kids, fresh out of high school, hanging out by the lake…and… well I’ll just let my cousins tell you the rest of that story.
We had lots of fun: eating way more than we should, getting fro-yo with my cousin, learning about “bombsicles,” and of course, just seeing and being with family.
For me, summer will always be this lake. It’s where I learned to swim (or at least watched my sister learn to swim since I refused to put my head under water for the longest time). It’s where I dug for worms and learned to fish with my Uncle and my Dad, both gone now. It’s where I tried to show off some stupid ice skating moves and fell flat on my face while everyone was watching. It’s where my brother was stung by a wasp for the first time and came screaming at the top of his lungs out of the wild blackberry patch. It’s where my sister and I would tell scary stories at night, sleeping in the downstairs den with all the windows and screen doors open, hoping for the slightest of summer breezes to relieve us of the Summer heat. It’s me and my sister in over-sized tie-dyed shirts, too-short shorts and tragically tangled hair riding old bikes with leaky tires to downtown Main Street to buy 25c a scoop ice cream and pick up stacks of book from the library.
It’s where we spent most our summers growing up, and as we have moved from city to city, place to place, house to house, it has been the one constant — the place that has always been there — the backdrop to so many family memories old and new. I hope that one day, if we ever have kids that they have the chance to spend summers by the lake.