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Alice Collins: Nothing beats the summers at the lake

The month of July is the favorite time of the summer for school-aged children. It is the one month they can be totally free to vacation.

In June, there is usually a last week of classes and for some students, the worry about what those final grades will be.

When we were in the early grades, we were concerned to hear for sure that we had passed. There was always talk of someone who had not made it and had to repeat a grade. That made us fearful of having to watch our friends go on; while we would be stuck with the same teacher and a bunch of what we considered “the little kids” in the class behind us.

August can be a really warm month and may include a family vacation trip.

I have fond memories of a summer when we took a family trip to Yellowstone Park and another when we traveled to the west coast of Canada. That was often the month when dads had time off and family jaunts were an option.

I hope families still take the kind of summer vacation trips that we did. I know it is less of a vacation for a working mom and dad and they may need to reserve some time for an adults-only time away as well.

That is when grandparents may be of help or a trade may be made with parents of the child’s friends.

Summer in northern Minnesota is a different thing than summer in other Midwest or Southern states. There is a TV commercial airing now where the announcer ends her comments with “and in Minnesota, we earn our summers.” And indeed we do, and we enjoy them to the fullest. We are lucky to have our many lakes where kids can swim, dads can fish and moms can do either of those or sit in a yard chair under the pine trees enjoying a breeze and a view of the lake.

When I was growing up in northern Illinois, it was quite a project to get the family up to northern Wisconsin for our summer getaway and it could also be quite expensive.

Our stay would only be for a week and left us a lot of hot summer days to try to survive with daily trips to the city swimming pool or spraying ourselves with the hose in our yard.

Since we moved to Minnesota in 1949, we have lived near to and finally on a lake for most of those years. Our kids and grandkids and now even great-grandchildren love the place on Grant Lake where we lived for more than 40 years and which is now being taken over by our daughter and son-in-law as we have moved to an assisted living apartment and they are now retired.

I have often said that you know you are getting old, when your kids start retiring.

And old we are, coming up on age 90, but happy to be up and about to enjoy our extended family, including the great-grandson who says “I want to go to Oma’s house.”

Not that he is so eager to see me, but he wants to come to the lake.

So, we are happy that the family will continue to enjoy that place and we can still sit in a yard chair under the pine trees and look out at the lake that we have loved for so many years.

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