Friends make great companions to do nothing with.

Every year it gets harder for me to admit that winter has forced me out of my cabin at Lake Tschida. Leaving the lake for another year is filled with melancholy and disdain for the coming winter.

At this age winter becomes more of an enemy than friend. The cold is hard to adapt to, but thank goodness I have accumulated enough winter wear to survive whatever miserable conditions it has to offer. The problem is that doesn’t change my attitude about having to spend more time indoors than outdoors.

This year we evidently skipped fall and are skidding right into winter. Normally my neighbor Jim and I fish our way through October and Jim heads to Arizona in November. However, the last two Octobers have not provided enough favorable weather, so once again our fishing expeditions were limited. It wasn’t that we didn’t try, but after a few efforts we decided that it was just too miserable to even try anymore. So I hope that whoever is in charge of the weather around here is paying attention because it seems that they’ve added another month to our six months of winter and I for one am seriously complaining to whomever.

OK, so much for this week’s weather complaint. Onto other things, like if you didn’t fish, what did you guys do? This is not just a question that either of my loyal readers asked, but more often than not it came from our lake neighbors that came out during weekends.

I’ll have to admit that the true answer is not much, but given that most folks abandon their lake homes around Labor Day, most days Jim and I were the only ones out here so we did spend most of our days doing something. First off Jim spent a lot of time checking weather forecasts to see if we could go fishing. Once that decision was made we made other plans.

A couple of times, we drove into Hebron for burgers at the local pizza place. Then there were a few times when we just got in the truck and explored the neighborhood (trips to the dam to watch water come through the spillway, treks around the Boy Scout camp, Red Rock Resort, Crappie Creek, Rattlesnake Point, North Shore Resort, and the dumps).

Most days were spent hanging out in my heated garage, making supply runs to Glen Ullin, Elgin or Carson, and a few trips home that didn’t last any longer than necessary, like head in to do whatever needed to be done and head back to the lake on the same day.

So last Sunday was our last day at the lake. Jim was scheduled to head for Arizona on Monday. Since he and I spent most days doing nothing together, I figured it was time for me to head back to town and spend the winter doing nothing with someone else.

Such is the life of most retired folks, if they’re lucky they have someplace to go that requires them to do nothing other than whatever they want to do. This doesn’t really mean that they do nothing, rather it seems to indicate that most of us can do whatever we want to and that often involves doing nothing all day and not being done by bedtime.

So here’s hoping Jim has safe travels and as you can tell I don’t plan on doing much until he gets back next spring other than stay warm and get through the winter. Here’s hoping that you enjoy winter more than I do. 

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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.