As a kid, I spent two weeks of my summer at my grandparents' cottage on Carp Lake. This lake, just ten minutes south of the Mackinac Bridge in northern lower Michigan was my oasis ... my heaven on Earth. It was out in the middle of nowhere, in a spot where one might likely spy a Black Bear at dawn or dusk ... or a pair of bald eagles that nested in the isolated portions of the lake. It was this place that afforded me the opportunities of learning how to sail,to boat, to fish, to build a fort --- it allowed me the ability to run all over the place without fear of stranger danger, but most importantly, making lasting friendships with "lake friends."
My sister and I were the third generation of lake kids, and I always thought that there would be a fourth generation. But times change, kids grow up, and cottages get sold, as was the case of my grandparents' cottage.
I recently reconnected with some of the younger siblings of the lake friends I had. They are on Facebook, and they are all grown up, which blows my mind, because in my memory, they are all still little kids.
I was looking through the posted photos of one of the girls, and I realized that she had a photo with my grandparents' cottage in the background, except, it's not really our cottage anymore. The new owners gutted it and added a level, and it looks nothing like the quaint little fishing cottage that I spent 30 some summers in learning to play violent games of spoons, mastering the art of card shuffling, and eating insane amounts of black licorice and Dr. Pepper. To this day, when I drink Dr. Pepper out of one of my Spaghetti String Tumblers, just like the ones grandma had at the cottage, I'm once again transported to The Lake.
There will be new memories at a different lake, I am sure, but I will always have a sweet spot in my heart for the cottage and lake of my youth. It's where I fell in love with sunsets, bonfires, and the amazingly calming effect of water and waves.