Sunday, July 7, 2013

A *new* Sandy Lake

Sandy Lake took on many changes over the past year.  In a physical sense its had a total yard transformation and it looks amazing.  The nearly toppled over retaining wall came down last fall and a new boulder rock wall and beach were put into place.  The deck that stood for 35 years was torn down and a paved patio was put in.  The dark and cold sidewalk was ripped up and a beautiful paved sidewalk was put into place.  There are many other small landscaping touches that have been put into place making it look better than it has looked in years-she deserved a big huge makeover.

The other change isn’t as visible to the passerby in the nearest pontoon.  The golf cart that strolls down the dirt road to the beach won’t notice it either.  This change comes with the loss of my mom.  The cabin was purchased 36 years ago by a young couple who had just a little bit of money, a whole lot of a love and a big dream.  They made that cabin into something special just by being in it.  Kate and I spent every single summer growing up on the shore of Sandy Lake.  As told best by parents “Kristie was born on a Tuesday in July and at the cabin on Saturday.”  We knew no other life-and we grew to know we were lucky. 

My kids don’t have many memories of Grandma at Sandy Lake, either does my husband.  But Gary, Kate and I have so many memories that at times this summer those memories are raw. They have become what one minute we hold on to feeling so close to her, and the next what you try to push away because it is just so hard. I remember my parents one vacation they would take each year—70 miles north to Zimmerman.  To the little white cabin with red shudders, four down from the landing.  I remember my mom and forever cabin neighbor Alice sitting in the water sunbathing.  I remember the cold can of pop they would squeeze into can coozies every Saturday afternoon.  I remember the 2:00 pig-out we would all partake in.  Sandy Lake, and the neighbors that surrounded our cabin, became family. 

We’ve made some pretty drastic changes to things at Sandy Lake this year.  Things that were much needed and a few things that were just an added luxury.  Gary is spending most of his time tending to the cabin and it makes us so happy knowing he is at home, with my mom spiritually by his side, tackling his daily to-do list.  The place looks beautiful and is so welcoming its been hard to stay away.  The new memories that are being made are a little bit harder to swallow as these are memories that won’t hold my mom.  Some of my very first memories of my mom take place down on the shore of the lake as she laid in her lounge chair in just a few inches of water to help her stay cool… 


The girls continue to love lake life.  The sand and water are perfect for filling up buckets and building castles and mudpies.  Mallory loves jumping off the dock and the way she runs down the dock and bounds off the end makes me smile wide.  I remember many sunny afternoons doing the same thing alongside my sister  as we chanted “One for the money. Two for the show…”


With casting help from her dad, Mallory reeled in her first “big” fish.  She semi-willingly held it and Mikayla stood in the back and begged to touch it… 


Mikayla is brave in her own way and is “fearless” when she jumps off her end of the dock in four inches of water—we clap and cheer and she beams with pride. She is proudly keeping her swimsuit up on her own and her fashion sense on the beach tops the charts.

The boat hadn’t even been pulled from the dock and Mikayla was begging to go tubing with her sister. I tried to tell her it was going to go fast and that once it started she couldn’t just stand up and climb off—she wanted nothing to do with me trying to change her mind.  So in all her determination she did it. She climbed in her sister’s lap and when she wasn’t squealing with delight she was yelling “FASTER GWAMPA FASTER!” 


The summer is just about 1/2 over and we have many more plans to play our days away at Sandy Lake.  The sand is sure to be warm on our toes, the water refreshing and a new batch of memories to add to our story.

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