Andrea's column: A snapshot of summerWatching the film made me think of lake vacations when I was young. My family never went to the same place every year but on a few occasions, we were invited to the Ox Lake summer home of neighbors.
Last Sunday afternoon I watched the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” starring Bonnie Hunt and Steve Martin. I had seen the actors in “Cheaper by the Dozen” so I was prepared to laugh.
The Bakers, played by Hunt and Martin, are at the lake — where they have been vacationing for years — with their 12 children and the oldest daughter’s husband. The home they have always stayed in is a bit dilapidated and has a mouse that steals things and hides them in his residence behind a first-floor wall.
Watching the film made me think of lake vacations when I was young. My family never went to the same place every year but on a few occasions, we were invited to the Ox Lake summer home of neighbors. Unlike the Pequot Lakes cabin owned by my mother’s aunt, where we spent a bit of time, too, the neighbor’s place had an inside toilet instead of a two-holer.
Indoor plumbing was a requirement when my sister-in-law suggested our two families spend a weekend together in Wisconsin. A cousin had offered them the use of his cabin and there was a smaller guest cabin where my family would stay.
The plan was that we would drive to Hayward separately on Friday after work and get there in time to meet at a restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, we would follow them to the cabins.
By the time we had eaten and found the way to our destination, it was late and too dark to see anything. We said good night and went our separate ways to unpack. The guest cabin was nothing fancy but it didn’t matter. Most of our time would be spent at the lake swimming and sun-bathing. Fishing, too.
What did matter, though, was what happened that night when my daughter peeled back the covers of one of the beds. The sheets were littered with dead bugs. From there, it was all downhill.
We awakened to the sound of pelting rain but made our way to the lake, anyway, to check it out. The kids made fake vomiting sounds when they saw the water was covered in thick red-orange slime. Mosquitoes dive-bombed into us as we walked to the bigger cabin to find board games. I was a bit envious of the size of the place but that emotion was soon replaced by a shuddering feeling when I noticed mouse droppings on the couch.
I have only one photograph of that weekend. I took it on Sunday when the sun finally came out. Our car was packed for the drive home and my husband, who had turned it in the direction of Bloomington, was already in the driver’s seat. The kids and I made one last trip inside the cabin to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything. As we locked the door behind us, I told them I wanted to take a picture of them. “Say good-bye to the cabin,” I said.
They each plugged their nose with one hand and gave me a “thumbs down” gesture with the other. Neither was smiling. I snapped the photo and we ran to our get-away car as fast as we could.
These memories came flooding over me as I watched the movie about the Bakers and their 12 children. Instead of laughing at the mishaps that befell them, I felt more like crying. Especially whenever that thieving mouse came into view. A big thumbs’ down to that creepy critter.