SMALL TOWNS – Part 3

More memories…

There was a nine hole golf course up near the county seat and it had more sand traps than grass, since that lake county is half sand dune.  Also a Put-Put/Peter Pan golf thing — they did heavy business on overcast days.  When the little auto driving place went in, the nine hole got more elaborate to compete.  Our own village added a fancy putting hole with things like a castle, a waterfall and a water chute hole.  Today?  All of them are owned by the same family, in two different towns.  Lord knows what they do for income when the snow is four feet deep. (Actually, they are very likely the snow removal specialists. Welcome to the contracting economy.)

Even when you went up to stock up at the big family Plum Grocery in the county seat, you still bought stuff in the villages, because you didn’t want to lose the local stores.  Now instead of a small general grocery, the village has a wine, cheese and cigars shop, which gets a lot of business from wealthy boaters cruising from Chicago to Mackinac Island and back.  Plum’s is still around, but now it competes with Wal-Mart and Meijer’s.  Ancient IGAs exist in some of the other, smaller towns.  Not in mine.  We have a trading post with fresh fruit and veggies, along with those specialty shops.

There were dune rides, in trucks that were precursors to Suburbans, with open sides and no seat belts.  They hauled tourists and the occasional local up and down the dunes.  Every once in a while we’d hear that a buggy flipped, often with permanent side effects.  Now, I hear they have seat belts and the trips are fairly tame.  But no one dies.

Of course we didn’t get to go!  Dad’s best friend was a surgeon who brought to us the ER stories about motorbikes and dune scooters.  To this day, I’ve never been on a motorcycle — although I got on a “wave runner” as soon as I could.  It’s like nothing else — but I liked the private beaches without the motorized stuff.  Just sailboats drifting around, or bolting for the harbor when a storm was coming across the big lake.  Like my heroine in my old mystery novel, I’m still conflicted about wave runners.

I also wonder about snowmobiles.  The animals and land really need a rest from us.  But people love those things.

The night Nixon resigned, there was exactly one TV on the entire length of the beach that we could see — we packed into an upstairs, tiny, “pass-through” room (it was the only way to one bedroom.  We were hardly ever in the places, so it didn’t matter a bit)  I thought of it as my aunt’s “sick room” where on spindly chairs or laying on the floor, we saw his tiny face.  It was a pretty small TV.  Hard to believe it — our cottage has 3 sets and satellite now.  My sisters and I have agreed to not replace any dead TVs without discussion.  Surely two would be enough, and that includes the one for my insomniac father?

There is a lot to be said for being the Summer People.  We get shorted on homestead tax relief, but we’re long on memories.

And sometimes, we get to use the stuff in a novel.

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About Katharine Eliska Kimbriel

Cat Kimbriel is working on a a contemporary fantasy about curses, ecological change, and very different ways of looking at the twilight worlds. She's still working on a short Nuala piece and mulling over a new Alfreda novel. You can find her fantasy & science fiction, including free samples, at her Book View Café bookshelf. These books can also be found at major online booksellers. Her personal blog is here, and you will find her on whatever social media currently interests her. Cat builds worlds that contain compassion and justice -- come join the journey.

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