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Ulmer: Feelings of melancholy as fall shifts to winter on Tschida
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Ulmer: Feelings of melancholy as fall shifts to winter on Tschida

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It’s around 7 p.m. on Labor Day. The last weekend of summer at Lake Tschida is over and there’s a melancholy in the air. The past three days have been filled with family and neighbors. Over the weekend almost every cabin in the area was occupied with lake lovers and weather-wise we all experienced one of the nicest Labor Day weekends ever. Temps hovered close to 80 and the mornings were crispy cool causing folks to don hoodies and pajama pants during coffee time. By noon the lake beckoned anyone with some type of water craft to take advantage of its brightly sunlit calm offering.

Most folks know that by this time of year Lake Tschida has a propensity to turn rather green with algae. Over the decades out here we’ve learned to search for beaches free of green. Accomplishing this mission requires that we know which way the wind blew the night before because the winds move the clouds of green.

So there wasn’t any problem finding cleaner water, all it required was the patience to putt-putt from spot to spot until we found something suitable. Once we land the pontoon, the dogs are the first out, then the rest of the passengers (in this case seven people and two dogs) either disembark or head to the cooler. It usually doesn’t take long before someone jumps in the water, nor does it take long for the others to follow. If it’s a good spot we might stay there for hours, sometimes we just keep cruising until a potty break is required and we either hit another beach or jump off the pontoon in the middle of the lake. By the way, I checked around and we are not the only ones to do this.

Sometimes our jet skis and Abe’s speed boat with a tube tied to it will accompany us, but since it drives the dogs crazy we usually find a beach to anchor on.

So the weekend was awesome; the grandkids seemed worn out, their parents looked pretty content when they left and of course their grandparents immediately took a nap, one filled with dreams about how blessed we are.

So the last weekend of summer has passed and life around here has changed. A fairly large number of cabin owners close up their cabin on Labor Day and don’t return until Memorial Day; we aren’t one of them.

The morning here started out with a full bay because everyone had spent the last three days on the water. A full bay usually consists of eight pontoons, five speed/fishing boats, five jet skis, four docks, and one fairly large boat lift. By the time of this writing, the bay has been reduced to one dock, one jet ski, one boat and three pontoons. It’s beginning to look kinda desolate.

As well I’ve seen a number of cabin owners unloading anti-freeze and tarping whatever equipment they plan to leave outside over winter. Most owners will return a few times to check things out but more than likely they won’t spend the night or host any big family stuff and such visits will become rare as fall shifts to winter.

Anyway everyone except me has headed to town. There was a bit of sadness as they departed and then a wave of melancholy came over me as I realized my favorite time of year was over, but like everyone else around here all I can do is hope that the summer of 2022 allows me to do all this over again.

Then I grabbed an adult beverage and enjoyed the solitude by sending this note to you. May your life be filled with more smiles than frowns.

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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