This time of year sends my heart back to Minnesota with my family. The summer vacations there were fun for us three kids.
We’d pack up our station wagon in anticipation of the long drive to our grandparents’ house. Sometimes we’d pull our pop-up camper. This was long before the seatbelt laws and we’d have our spaces picked out in the back of the station wagon. We would take whatever dogs we had at the time. Once we even took Petunia, my guinea pig.
Grandma and Grandpa’s house was once a garage. It was small but cozy. It actually had a basement which was damp and always smelled like dill pickles as all the canning jars were stored under the stairs. There were two small make-shift bedrooms and a small bathroom. I slept on a very creaky old bed with a very beaten up mattress. There were lots of old things down there. I loved that old basement.
Once there, we kids wasted no time walking to Thomas’ general store at the end of Grandma’s street, up on the hill, to load up on candy. When we were still young, mom would walk with us downtown. Woolworth’s was our favorite stop. It was a great store with lots of souvenirs and a little bit of everything. Aunt Millie worked the soda fountain. We sat at old fashioned stools at the counter and if I remember correctly, you could order fountain drinks, sandwiches, and fries. I loved that place! We never left without spending money that we saved throughout the year.
When we were older we’d walk downtown on our own. We’d look for discarded cardboard boxes. When we each found a nice sized box, we’d take them back to Grandma’s. From Grandma’s front step you could see Indian Hill across the highway. The story was that the hill was a mound, a ancient burial ground for Indians. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I doubt it but it was pretty interesting to a young kid.
We’d take our boxes to the top of that hill. We’d unfold them to make them lie flat. Then we’d sit on them and fly down the side of that hill, laughing all the way down.
When I think of our trips there, I first think of our fishing trips. Dad would take us kids fishing one at a time. We’d get up really early when it was still quite chilly. Sweatshirts were worn in the morning and then we’d be burning up by afternoon. The lakes up there are filled with such a variety of fish. Sunfish, blue hill, walleye, northern pike, trout, bass, etc. Dad would spend lots of time fishing with Uncle Victor too. From my trip to North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, I brought home five rods and reels of my dad’s. Oh, and his tackle box.
We ate fish everyday while there during our three weeks or so. Fish for breakfast was amazing. Fried fish, fried eggs, fried potatoes, toast, juice, cereal. It was a feast!
This time of year, I am always wishin’ for fishin’. Every year my mind travels back to those youthful, carefree summer days in Minnesota with my family.
Cherish everyday with family and friends. Make great memories together. Don’t take anything for granted. Those days do not last forever, but the memories will. ♥️