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For those of us who are lucky enough to spend our summers at the lake, Labor Day is usually a melancholy affair. First off, Labor Day is considered the last day of summer and summers are always hard to let go of around here. Secondly, Labor Day weekend does not have an excellent weather reputation, because it either rains, blows or it gets miserably cold.

Except for Sunday this year was no different. Saturday sucked so bad that we all had to put on our hoodies, find a pair of long pants and trade our flip flops for socks and shoes. A cold wind swept up the bay and only the brave took to the water; the rest of us hung around the cabin, napped, movie binged and hoped the next day would be better.

Being Labor Day is considered the last day of summer, most cabin owners spend the weekend buttoning things up for the oncoming winter. The first thing they do is pull their watercrafts out of the water. In our case, there are 11 pontoons in the bay and by the end of the weekend that number will be cut in half (the rest of us leave ours in until freeze up; never know there could be some nice days left before old man winter takes over).

It’s interesting to note that over the weekend the sun came out around noon on Sunday and although there we no boats on the water yesterday it seems like every watercraft in the area was on the lake Sunday. Although the wind was rather calm, the boat wake from all this activity created a rather rough ride. The problem with boat wake is that it comes at you from all directions and from what I could tell every degree on the compass had a wave in it.

In such cases, those of us who prefer to just idle around the lake as well as shut down the motor and jump off our pontoons on occasion need to be wave aware and take note of any other boat that may be in the vicinity. Of course by the time we got out on the water a storm quickly chased us off and back into the cabin.

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It’s interesting to note that boating has changed a bit over the years. For instance, we own a small pontoon with a 40-horse motor that with a solid tail wind can achieve 15 mph. Many pontoons today have 200- to 400-horsepower engines. It’s not uncommon to see a big pontoon packed full of people whiz by at 40 to 50 mph.

Being a lifelong pontooner, the only times I wish I had more speed is when a thunderstorm is chasing me off the water. Besides when you see one of these behemoths at full throttle the first thing you notice is that you can see daylight under the pontoons and the only thing in the water is the shaft from a high powered motor. In addition these new pontoons furniture is composed of overstuffed chairs and sofas that are nicer than most folks have in their homes.

And since our pontoon is 20 years old there could be a modicum of envy in the previous paragraph. Anyway the summer of 2019 is officially over and those of us out in the wilds of Tschida wish it wasn’t but all we can do about it is complain -- and as you know, we natives have mastered the art of complaining about our weather and seasons so that means I fit right in around here.

Here’s hoping that your summer was filled with enough sun and smiles to keep you happy until it returns. 

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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