Wednesday, February 3, 2010

bass lake

Give me a B
Give me an A
Give me an S
Give me another S
What's that spell?
(hooting and hollering heard throughout the cottage)
My family of 10 spent spent our childhood summers at this cottage.  One of my dad's business associates owned this little haven in Indiana and he was kind enough to rent it to us for our annual getaway.  It was one of the original cottages built on this fine lake that offered solice from the hussle and bussle of city life.  The kids doubled and tripled up in the bedrooms made of cedar and the front porch had a swing and a gorgeous view of the lake.  Mom would take time to make sure we never went hungry with her delicious barbeques and lots of deli sandwiches.  Food was found everywhere in her kitchen.  I have fond memories of waking up super early with my dad and sitting with him at the edge of the sandbar near the water, just reflecting on how peaceful it was while the sun rose.  We sipped coffee and said nothing, just enjoyed the quiet silence of the new day upon us. 
During the day we would take a ride to the local store and shop for water wings or little rafts for our water sports and sometimes a neighbor would arrive with their pontoon boat and we would take a relaxing spin on the lake.  Once I tried to get off too soon near the shore and fell under the boat.  Someone saved me for here I am writing about it.
In the early years the cottage was filled with just our immediate family.  Then Aunt Diane, Uncle Bill and Cindy became a member of the bass lake club and joined us.  Later we would bring our boyfriends and girlfriends and close friends to join us in this delightful experience. Many of us would take naps after a morning of sunning and get ready for round two at night.  This was the most fun for the elders would whip out their guitars and jam away, singing their hearts out.  Their harmonies were fabulous and oftentimes Uncle Bill would serenade us with old country folk songs that had us cracking up.  Mom and Diane provided the harmony and it was a concert.  One particular night is held captive in my memory.  Everyone was laughing and joking and feeling pretty good after the beers we all downed and Dad starts strumming the Jesus Christ Superstar song At Gethsemene.  The whole cottage was silent and solemn and you could hear a pin drop.  Then one by one everyone left the front porch to go to bed or outside for awhile.  In an instant he changed the tone of the night. We never let him forget that. 
Another favorite was when he mowed the grass.  Now this was a huge lot of land and Dad never, I repeat, never, mowed a lawn at home.  When we witnessed this, I think at least a few of us heard the earth shake.  Then he caught a fish and reminded us that he is indeed a fisherman among us.  I inherited his fair skin, and boy would he get red, then load himself up with lotion all night.  And he always had his supplies with him - alcohol and various ointments, including mosquito spray.  Mom loved shopping at the antique joints just to browse at the old artifacts.  She had quite an eye for garden trinkets and often found the most unique things to bring home as souvenirs. 
It's funny how a place located less than 2 hours from home could feel a world away.  A few years ago Wayne and I drove back to the area for Carrie's mom's wake and stopped by the old Bass Lake Cottage and I was compelled to talk to the owners.  The current owner is a relative of the one who worked with my dad, since he passed on, but I was able to thank them for all the memories and admire how they remodeled that cute little cottage into a year-round home for themselves.  As I stood outside talking with them, my heart filled with emotion for all the times spent with my family at this wondrous place.  It was simple, yet it held an abundance of joy for us.  A wonderous bonding haven.
I am confident these memories were responsible for our decision to purchase a summer home on Lake Delavan so we could provide similar memories for our boys.  We were there for six years -  year round -  and it did the trick.  We did not have the joy of my whole family as we did at Bass Lake, but we had the company of our new and old friends to pass the time.  I always said people who live near a lake are the most pleasant.  No worries, just a lot of calm and serenity. 
This is the porch room at the Delavan home where we learned to relax.  I will write about this destination another time, but it came alive thanks to our past at Bass Lake. 

To look backward for awhile is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit, for it's prime function of looking forward.

Home is where the heart is. xo