Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lake Life

Last week we went to the lake and were there over the week of the 4th. We are always there on the 4th but unlike normal years it was unbearably hot and fireworks were banned.

The second part might not be a bummer to most people, but to my husband who had purchased enough fireworks to warrent us driving our second car, it kinda sucked. It's so nice to shoot them out over the lake but given that our state has turned into a dry cracked, drought ridden tenderbox, doing so would have landed Jeremy 180 days in jail or a huge fine.

I suppose our state not burning down is a good thing though.

So I have all these obligatory lake pictures that I always post and thought that might be boring. I mean most of the pictures I've ever posted from the lake over the past 6 years are mostly the same.

So for fun I thought I would add some interesting factoids about the lake. Think of it like pop-up video. Anyone remember that show? You know back when they played music videos on TV?

My grandparents bough the lake cottage in 1972. They used it like a summer home for many years and I have very fond memories of going there as a kid. Swimming, fishing, riding bikes with Grampaw and sleeping on the pull out sofa. Eating food fresh from the grill and shopping in the Amish town with Gramaw.

The house is almost exactly the same as always, like a time capsule. Slowly though, things are  upgrading and changing, but there's something charming about sitting on the same old rickety patio furniture that we did in the 1980s.

The lake is pretty shallow as far as lake goes. Even the deepest spots aren't much more than 30 feet. There is an area of super shallow soft bottom that we call the sandbar. We can ride the boat out to it and jump off the boat. But truthfully the area near the cottage is perfect depth for swimming and fishing.

Charley was not interested in the sandbar, just the ginger ale on board the boat. Then he got all whiny and I threatened to toss him overboard. I hope he knows I wasn't joking. I mean he was wearing a life jacket and all. Nothing makes Mama crazier than whining.

Our old pontoon boat didn't used to have a ladder (in it's later years of use anyway) and there's a sorta funny story about me jumping off the boat at the sandbar and not being able to get back on. It involves Jeremy and my cousin Eva towing me back to shore with a rope. I never claimed to be graceful or coordinated.

That's enough about that.
We got a new pontoon boat which is so sweet compared to the ancient Aqua Patio we used to  have. I do have fond memories of that blue beauty though. Not so much of the times when the motor stalled and we got stuck in the middle of the lake. But other times like catching a 14 lb catfish with Grampaw.

Mom bought a kayak and we all laughed at her. Then she started using it and others wanted to use it as well and she laughed right back at us. I haven't been brave enough to try and mount myself into it yet. Remember the story about the pontoon right?

Due to our town pool being shut down and me not being on the ball enough to sign us up at nearby pools (before the waiting lists started), our kids aren't doing any official swim lessons this summer. I think they'll be alright though. Look at Miss Fishy. 

Shipshewana is a mildly-touristy Amish town nearby with lots of cool shops (like the ones where I bought my xylophone and mass amount of cheese). Really the best place in the town is a big mall like building called The Mercantile.

The Mercantile has the cool music store, some houseware stores, a great toy store, and a carousel on the top floor. The carousel is so seldom frequented that the operator was taking a nap on it when we went up there this time. Probably out of boredom, he also gives a doubly long ride.

The Mercantile is also the home of Jo Jo's pretzels. The world's best hand made Amish soft pretzels with assorted dipping sauces including their signature sweet mustard. Slurp.
The original Mercantile and Jo Jo's was a place that Gramaw and I would go to when I was a kid. I would always get soft pretzels and she would always get a chicken salad sandwich, which I still find a curious choice given all the gooey buttery pretzel options.

When I was in college the original Mercantile burned down and the world wept. Then they rebuilt it bigger and better than before. My first reaction upon hearing about the fire was not concern for the citizens but the pretzels. I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

These are the ladies of the lake. Kathy, Gramaw, and Candy. They've been lake neighbors forever and ever and feel like extended family members. I remember a funny story about Kathy's young son (who's now in his twenties) throwing my brother's pound puppy in the lake and watching it float away. I believe there was an amazing rescue. I wonder if anyone else remembers that.

The other place to always visit is a little hole in the wall ice cream parlor named "Happiness is Ice Cream". It's another time capsule type place that has never changed. Even some of the flavors are constant after 25 years. Like superman, which the kids always love.

 One small change I did enjoy at Happiness is Ice Cream is the addition of pretzel cones. What a brilliant idea for a salty sweet combination. I'll never go back to regular cones.

That sums up a lot of what the lake is about. Hanging out, being family together, eating simple and delicious food and enjoying the water. I think I speak for everyone when I say that the lake cottage will be in our family for many many more years to come.

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