I might take up fishing again . I used to fish during summers when I was a kid . My father spent his childhood summers not too far from his family home in Reynolds , North Dakota , at Lake Melissa , which was just over the border in Minnesota . His father had a house on the lake.
As I understand it , the two-story cabin was once struck by lightning . Maybe the place burned down then . I don’t know . My father had , from that point on , an intense fear of lightning . Lightning wasn’t one of my intense fears when I was a kid . We didn’t have many lightning storms where I grew up . My intense fears ran along the lines of fear of teachers , and teen-agers , and just about everything else around . But , lightning I never worried much about .
My mother grew up in Minnesota and North Dakota , too . Every summer my dad would drive us all back to ” the lake “. The lake was Lake Sallie , next to Lake Melissa . There was another little lake nearby , too , called Fox Lake . At that time Fox Lake was , as I remember it , a swampy mosquito -infested pond hiding behind clumps of brush . No cabins on Fox Lake . Of course , there were nine-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-seven other lakes there in Minnesota , too ; but that’s beside the point . My father would rent two one-room cabins every summer on Lake Sallie , one for himself and the three boys , and the other for Mom and my three sisters .
A rowboat was always there at the cabin , too . In the mornings my dad would take us boys out to fish for breakfast . I don’t know what time it was ; it was early . He’d show us just the right spot to fish ; he’d try to teach us to worm the hooks . We’d always catch a few sunfish that , for some reason , my mother was expected to scale , gut , clean , and cook . It made a nice breakfast , though , except for the bones . Oh, add swallowing fish bones to one of my childhood fears . And , for some of those Lake Sallie years , impaling worms on fishhooks would join that list .
Ada and I have a little A-frame cabin not too far from a lake now . It’s a small little mountain lake , good for fishing . I gave all my fishing gear to my brother about a hundred years ago , so I’ll need to get new stuff . I’ll look for a little more than a Huck Finn- type bamboo pole and a string , but not much more . I won’t be flying to Montana to fly-fish the Yellowstone . Nothing like that .
By the way , I saw Fox Lake a few years ago . Well , I got close . It’s a gated community now , very exclusive mansion-cabins surround it now . I imagine mosquitos have been banned . The clumps of exquisite bushes there now have been planned and planted , landscaped to fit just right in a rural setting . Cabins on plain old Lake Sallie sell for $700,000 and up . The old cabins my father used to rent are , of course , long gone . The soda shop where he worked summers as a teen is long gone , too , where we used to buy ice cream cones and bait .
I looked around for an old wooden rowboat with a coffee can filled with concrete for an anchor dragged up on the sand . Small footprints would surround it , formed in the wet sand . Didn’t see it . Looked out over Lake Sallie for three small boys and their father in a drifting boat fishing . But it was long after breakfast and they were long gone .