It’s That Time of Year, Again
Looking forward to a good time is one of the pleasures of life, and it's that time of the year for me. It's just before my summer vacation. "Before" is often the best time. Looking forward to a vacation can often be better than the vacation itself. Sometimes the planning process is more satisfying. Fortunately, we have selective memories and our memory of a vacation is good even when our last vacation wasn't. As you must remember, vacations aren't all good.
My parents bought a cottage on a lake in northern New York State when I was very young and I have spent summers there all my life. My four children -- who are no longer children -- still go there. So do I. We have two cottages, and anyplace else wouldn't seem like a vacation home to me. We're on a point on the lake, but the point goes north and south instead of sticking out into the lake, so our cottage looks out across the lake. We keep our boats at the dock a short walk down a path on the point to the bay in back. It's the ideal situation for keeping boats.
If you set out to describe a perfect summer home, you'd describe ours. Or I would, anyway. My parents bought it more than 80 years ago, and they did the right thing. We have two canoes, a rowboat with an outboard motor on it, another rowboat for rowing and what's known as "a speedboat." That boat was built by a company called "Hacker" and it's the perfect boat for our lake. There are a lot of Chris Crafts and other boats on the lake but none match our Hacker. I think our boat goes about 35 or 40 mph, which is fast on the water. Our Hacker is good for getting to places around the lake and for waterskiing.
The dock on the water in front of our cottage has a springboard and a ladder on the side so you can climb out of the water. The water is cold -- as I guess it should be -- but I've gotten so I don't like to dive in. The water is around 68 or 69 degrees and believe me, if that doesn't sound cold, try it. On a long, hot summer, it occasionally gets warmer than that. We played tag on the dock as kids. We were in and out of the water but the cold didn't bother us.
We have a deck about 50 feet above the dock on a rock ledge, and that's where we sit before dinner, watching the boats go by and having a drink. We admire some of the boats, laugh at some and marvel at others. If it sounds as if I'm describing a mythical "perfect place," I am, but it's our real live home on the lake. For me, it is the perfect place.
Our joke, as we look out, isn't really funny I suppose, but someone often says, "I wonder what the less fortunate people are doing tonight?" At least we're aware that we have it pretty good.
This vacation home is not a perfect place for writing. That always depends a lot on what you're writing. As much as I love our place on the lake, there's a limit to how much time I want to spend there. I can't make my living when I'm at peace with the world. I bring my computer with me, but I'm not in a mood to write on vacation. In my office, I know what I'm here for. I have all the tools to do it with at hand. When I come into the office every morning, I'm there to work. It makes it easier to write and there are fewer distractions in my office.
Wherever I go, I bring my laptop computer. Over the years, I've often had to write away from my usual place, which is my office. It would be interesting -- only for me, I suppose -- to know how different my writing is in one place than it is in another.
So, if you don't care, don't write me to tell me that none of my writing is any good while I'm on my vacation.
(Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at email@example.com)
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