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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Views from the Lake - April 18, 2006

I remember the sun shinning off the glimmering water as it shimmered in a breeze. I remember a pair of eagles perched in the tall trees across the bay. Humming birds would speed pass me, flying from flower to flower. And in the distance a pair of loons sang out to one another. My first views of the lake took place over thirty years ago and I don’t regret a moment I spent on in Northern Wisconsin.

The were a pair of elderly sisters. They sold bait out of a little green shack. Their father had walked from Minocqua to Star Lake, at the turn of the century, looking for work. That’s 1900. It was buzzing time in the Lakes history. The only time its population was above five thousand. Now there’s, just a handful of homes doting the lakeside, but back then there were thousands.

It was a time of industrialization for the lake. A lumber company sat on the edge of the bay and mined for logs, they were gold to the community. They were cut around the lake and towed to the bay and held, awaiting the saw.

I remember many times sitting in front of the window in my in-laws cottage, watching boats parade by from all over the lake to the bait shack.

What a life, I thought. Each day one of the sisters would go to the little green bait shop. It was no bigger than an outhouse. I remember stooping as I walked inside. Its shingles were moss ridden as were its clapboards. Edith always sat in a sitting room chair by the by the window. And she always seemed to be waiting . . . And I always felt her pain, but that’s my little secret.

I remember watching her throw dead minnows into the lake. And to my amazement a huge northern broke the surface gathering them up just as fast. I always wanted to fish right in front of their bait shop, but in all those years, I didn’t have the heart to catch a family pet.

It had to be hard to watch so many die, or move away . . . And I wondered why they didn’t move away? And maybe that’s why they stayed, I don’t know. To me they always seemed old . . . But that’s just the way of youth. Their father and friends were buried up the road at the Star Lake Cemetery.

Someday, I will put their story to paper, at least my version of it. Sitting here, I’m not sure how Edith spent her time in the shack, whether she read or knitted . . . Hazel was always working in the garden in front of their house.

Every time I went to Star Lake, I always bought bait and a couple candy bars from Edith . . . And now, all I have is my memories.

Dan Hanosh
Dreams Are Yours To Share


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