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Weekend At The Lake Catalyst For Love Of Outdoors


Hillbilly Deluxe

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The other day I was pondering the beginnings of my love for the outdoors, particularly cabins and lakes.

My first memory of catching the outdoors bug seems to revolve around a trip to Lone Star Lake near Lawrence, KS.

I suppose I was probably 10 years old.

A childhood friend was fortunate enough that his dad had a small waterfront cabin at Lone Star — a beautiful lake of some 110 acres — and I  was invited to go for a weekend to “open the cabin” for the season.

I was fascinated to say the least. The three of us — my friend Chuck, his Dad, and I —loaded up their family wagon (old school with the fake wood grain sides) with all the essentials we would need and made the short drive to their lake cabin. It was only about 20 miles, but to me, we were headed to the Alaskan wilderness.

You see, My dad was a music professor, and wasn’t much of an outdoorsman. He never fished or hunted, or even camped to my knowledge. After he passed away I did find of picture him and his cousin Sonny paddling a canoe in the Adirondacks of New York near his hometown.

Anyway, I was ready to experience this lake cabin thing.

When we reached the cabin, we went through what must have been an annual ritual of opening the cabin for the summer. First, the structure was unlocked and windows were opened. Next, we threw the main breaker in the fuse box and the cabin was electrified.

There was a hand pump atop a well out near the back door which unlocked the cabin’s water source.

Of course, when I say the back of the cabin, I really mean the front (the side away from the lake where the front door and parking were). Like nearly all lake cabin’s, the business end of the cabin is the lakefront side.

And when I first saw that screened-in porch overlooking the lakefront, complete with boat dock and boat, I could barely contain myself. It was that moment that I was totally and forever hooked on lake cabins.

Although we were only at the cabin from Saturday morning until late Sunday afternoon that spring weekend, it is firmly embedded in my memory banks.

We spent our time eating hot dogs and potato chips, running around the lake in a small fishing boat, and sitting out on the porch just staring at the lake.

We also did a few chores around the cabin like putting screens on windows and cleaning up the inside, but it hardly seemed like work. It was an adventure and I loved every minute of it.

I really can’t recall if we caught any fish, but I remember driving home with a euphoric feeling — a feeling I have to this day when I get anywhere near a cabin on a lake.

I never visited that cabin again as their guest. The family moved out of the neighborhood later that year.

However, I have fished Lone Star Lake more than 100 times since that first visit, and always like to take time to go by that cabin, just for old times sake.

It hasn’t changed much in more than 40 years. And if it ever comes up for sale, I’m likely to buy it.

Throughout my life, my greatest memories are times spent in and around cabins and retreats on or near lakes. There’s just something deep inside me that finds tranquility and comfort in these surrounds.

I now have my own retreat at Table Rock Lake.

I’ll likely be there this coming weekend making memories.

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