It is Sunday morning at the cottage and the past two days have gone quickly. It is overcast and rain is in the forecast. The past two days have been warm, sunny, and breezy. Today the lake is calm almost lake glass with gentle ripples. Our guests departed this morning and everyone except for Olivia woke to wave goodbye. Sunday is the laziest day of the week and everyone, including Ivy, is taking their time getting around. The television is on and I am watching CBS Sunday Morning, then the Tour de France. One of the best parts of the month of July is each year I get a bicycle tour of France courtesy of the race.
With our guests here, we have been busy with boating, fishing, swimming, and enjoying the cottage. It has been a great time well spent: certainly, the days have counted. However, I have fallen behind on writing and other chores. Sunday will be a catch up day with all sorts of tasks and looking ahead to the coming next two weeks.
Day 49: Friday, A day on the lake – Beth had left Thursday to attend Dr. Hole’s viewing and funeral and I was here with the kids and our visitors. We woke, I was first, followed by Roberta, then Charley, and soon all of us were up. Breakfast was a on our own, sort of with cereal and even a turkey sandwich. We decided to take a run to town. Charley wanted to visit the bait and tackle shop in town – Skip’s. Walking in to Skip’s is overwhelming for a city boy like me. There are stuffed animals ranging from fish to deer, wildcats, foxes, wolves and a few bears: all local trophies. They have a wide array of products and it is where I buy my fishing license and lures for William. It is a great store and I am sure that the prices at big box stores like Bass Pro Shop are better but they do not have the advice that Skip’s can provide. Once our excursion at Skip’s is complete with anew fishing pole for Mark we are off to Glen’s for groceries and back home to pack for a picnic on the lake.
I made chicken salad and we packed fruit, vegetables, and bottles of water for the picnic. William and Mark, with Olivia’s assistance, packed the boat with everything we could need: towels, skis, kneeboard, the ski-skimmer, and the full gas tank. We piled on the pontoon and headed off with the William and Mark on the tube behind us. It was windy and with whitecaps on the lake making, the boy’s ride across bumpy. I tried to keep the speed down to make it less bumpy, but they still bounced around quite a bit. Once we got to south bay, the lake became calmer and their ride smoother, there I could try to give them a good ride turning the boat from side to side. We changed riders, giving the girls a ride, before heading ashore.
With the pontoon beached, it was time to let Ivy out and into the water. It was sunny and warm and she enjoyed the water by jumping in and having a good time. We kept Ivy on her tether where she could range a bit further than the leash and explore. We pulled the cooler to the beach and had lunch. The kids played and I walked Ivy, she was eager to enjoy the woods sniffing and pulling on the tether to get to new and better places. She played in the water and we tossed the ball into the surf where she chased it, grabbed, and brought it back to the beach. She had a blast and it was great to see a bird dog getting to do what a bird dog does. Soon we were back on the water. We tubed for a long time – the rest of the afternoon – almost running completely out of gas before William asked if we should check the gas. We checked the gas only to discover we were close on fuel and needed to head back to the cottage before we spent the rest of the afternoon floating on the lake. Every one of us took a turn, except me, but it was tiring driving the boat and keeping an eye on the riders. William and Mark cleanup the boat and pulled the gas tanks so they could be refilled for next time – either that night or Saturday.
We were all tired and Olivia took a nap. Before she nodded off, she called momma to find out where she was in her drive back to the cottage. She came out to report Beth’s location and returned to the bedroom to fall asleep. I cooked the chicken – drumsticks and breasts – and dinner was soon ready. All of us were tired and we decided to turn the evening into a movie night. After William and Olivia took their showers and got ready for bed, the kids gathered upstairs and quietly watched a movie. It was just what the cottage is for – enjoying family and friends.
The kids were watching their movie when Beth pulled in the driveway. I helped her unload the car. The sun was down and lake beginning to calm as we sat on the deck enjoying the cool summer evening and she filled me in on Harvey’s funeral and her brief visit to Versailles.
All of us were tired, the kids went to bed, and the day ended. Beth went to bed, too, and read, the Harrisons settled in for the night, and I stayed up and wrote. Another day well spent.
Day 50: Saturday, A day on the lake, part two – Saturday morning we divided and conquered – the boys, and Olivia, took the pontoon boat and fished and the girls went to town for sales and shopping. It was windy, not as windy as Friday, but the lake was too choppy for water sports and we made other plans. The anglers set up west side of the lake and drifted between Little Bear and Big Bear points just along the drop off. We dropped out lines and waited, and waited, and waited. Fishing is a sport of patience and we needed a lot of it on this expedition. After an hour or so, we pulled our lines and returned home. The girls came home with more to show than the boys did, but we had fun.
The area’s bakery sells Cornish pasties, pastry dough filled with meat and potatoes, a hearty meal. We had pasties and leftovers for lunch and all of us enjoyed sitting, eating, and talking. After lunch, I lay down, draping myself by the window, and promptly fell asleep. Beth hollered my name and I woke, startled. “Was I snoring?” I asked. She replied, “No, but if you’re gonna take a nap, go in the bedroom.” So, I did and I was gone.
I understand the kids spent the afternoon swimming in front of the cottage. When I woke up, with pillow marks on my face they were all outside. The adults were on the pontoon watching and the kids in the water playing and swimming. I must have needed the nap, because I do not remember even going to sleep. It was late afternoon and the wind had died down, enough for us to get our on the lake for the Harrison’s last afternoon at the cottage. We decided to ski or kneeboard and left the tube at home. We reached south bay and William skied first. He got up quickly and skied back and forth across the wake before dropping off. Mark was next and after a couple of tries was up and skiing. He did well, his second time on water skis. When he dropped off, we switched to the kneeboard. William got up and then stopped. Olivia wanted to try and Mark jumped in the water to help William with Olivia. Then Olivia was up and very happy for her first time. A summer of firsts for her – ski-skimming and now, knee boarding! When she was finished, it was Mark’s turn. William and Olivia stayed in the water and helped Mark with the kneeboard and he, too, was up quickly. It was getting late and mark’s run would be the last. We went up and down the shore and were back at the beach to pick up William and Olivia and go home. William decided he wanted to kneeboard home and stayed in the water and pulled himself up on the board as we headed back.
The time on the lake was fun and good way to wrap up the Harrison’s visit. We landed the pontoon and unloaded. The kids spent the rest of the night playing video games upstairs and Charley and I played cribbage. Charley beat me and I learned as we played. Darkness descended on the cottage and we watched the moon’s light shimmer on the water as it went down across the lake.
The kids went to bed exhausted from the water. Beth, Charley, and I sat up and talked before we decided it was too late and morning would be here sooner than we wanted. It was a good two days, well spent having fun at the cottage playing and enjoying friends. Tomorrow is Sunday and he Harrison’s leave for Wheaton. We will be up here a little longer at least through the river festival next week. I have thirty-two days remaining and so far, they have all counted. Jump in, jump out, seize the day.