We spent Labor Day with my dad and step mom at their new vacation condo on Lake Whatcom in Bellingham. We had told Ruthie we were going to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s new house on the lake, and when we got there she asked them if their old house was broken.
It was classic – reminded me of the time she asked if our burned-out hall light needed new batteries.
It was a perfect, lazy afternoon, spent sitting on the patio, sitting on the dock, sitting in the grass, and eating ourselves into a disgusting state of shock. My dad has an endless supply of potato chips and French onion dip, and it even follows him to new homes in new cities. The dip stalks me whenever I visit him and I can’t resist it.
But I digress.
My step mom was talking about the single family home values on the lake, how people were buying up little shacks or smaller older homes and tearing them down or gutting and adding on. I looked around the lake and saw large, modern, mansions.
Bryan’s college friend grew up on Lake Sammamish East of Seattle, and his parents still live in their small cabin-like home while all the houses around them have been torn down and rebuilt as big white boxes that stretch the entire length and width of their lot.
I asked Bryan why he thought this happened, why the lake front properties in Western Washington seemed to be reserved for big city executives making six figures. I come from Minnesota where it seems like everyone has a cabin on a lake or knows someone with a cabin on a lake, whether it’s one room with a wood stove, or a house with rooms and a kitchen. There’s always somewhere for the common man to go fishing for the weekend, even if it’s a small motel resort along the highway.
Dot Com vs. Lake Wobegon, he said.
It’s true, I guess. Here, it seems the Lake Life is for the privileged few, while in Minnesota, it’s as much a way of life as the ‘hot dish’ is a way of life, and eating dinner at lunchtime and supper at dinnertime is a way of life. At least that’s how I remember the remote, quiet lake on which our cabin was located. There, Lake Life was decadently simple, and slow, and relaxing. It was where we read books, and took long walks, and listened to the loons, and watched deer crossing the field.
I love my dad’s condo on Lake Whatcom, and I suppose even in the absence of wildlife, his lake home is just as relaxing at the cabins of my memory. It’s a beautiful home, and will be a fun place for the family to gather. I loved the lapping of the water against the retaining wall, the sound of the speedboats and the kids screaming from their inner tubes, and smelling the familiar lake smell.
My children will have grand memories of visiting grandpa and grandma at the lake, and I guess fond memories are what’s important.