I used to despise the term "Lake People." I never understood why so many people from West Fargo/Moorhead/ Fargo would leave each weekend to go to "the lake." And, I would get extremely annoyed when someone would say they were going to "the lake." I grew up in Detroit Lakes; and there are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. "The lake" is not quite descriptive enough for me to understand where you are going!
You'd think growing up in Detroit Lakes would have made me more eager to get back in to the lake scene, but I just didn't have that desire. Maybe it was because I had grown up spending time at my friends' big houses that were right on a lake. Or maybe it was because as a child my family vacations were spent camping all over Minnesota, always seeing new places and on the move. So the idea of heading to the same place and the same small camper or cabin each weekend just sounded somewhat boring to me.
Then a few years ago my in-laws took over a lake lot that had been in the family for decades, all of a sudden we were Lake People.
After the initial shock had passed I have to admit the whole concept started to grow on me. I realized how nice it was to have a place to go every weekend, or at least when I wanted. I didn't have to plan weeks in advance or call ahead to make reservations. If the weather wasn't going to be nice, we could just stay home. It didn't take me long to understand why people became addicted to going to the lake.
My husband and I have a small, old camper we park at his parent's lake lot. Sure the hot water doesn't work, or at least we haven't figured out how quite yet, but as long as we have a place to rest our heads, that's all we need.
Each morning when my kids wake up, much too early, they strap on their life jackets and head for the beach just feets from our camper. My son finds some branches and strings rubber worms on the end of his stick, puts another together for his little sister, and they fish.
As the adults begin to rise we make a huge breakfast that will give us enough energy to take my in-law's modest pontoon out for a few rounds of fishing before a late lunch.
When lunch is finished up the kids put on their swimsuits, the moms layer them in sunscreen and we plant our chairs in the sun, and then move to the shade, then back to the sun. No laundry to fold, dishes to wash or floors to scrub. Any sense of worry, concern and stress are gone as we enjoy pure relaxation. All while the kids are lost in their imaginations, and the sand.
After everyone is water logged the kids and dads get back on the pontoon while the moms gladly stay back to prepare yet another feast. Everyone eats together and then heads back out on the water for a sunset cruise before the bonfire begins.
Once the kids have fallen asleep in our laps while cuddling by the bonfire we lay them down and return for some adult time. We listen to music, share memories and create new ones, all to do the same thing again tomorrow.
I guess going to the lake isn't so bad after all. And at our lake you don't need an immaculate cabin or a big fancy boat. All you need is family, friends, lots of food, and I suppose, the lake.
Just so no one gets annoyed, our "the lake" lies somewhere northwest of Mayville, North Dakota, that's about as close as I could get without my husband along.