Memories are created on northern lakes

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

A child’s first real trip to the great outdoors is a precious thing to remember.

Sure we take our infants and toddlers along on camping trips and carry them in pouches on hikes, but when they are able to get their hands in the mud, pull out a worm and say, &8220;Look Daddy! Let’s catch some fish.&8221; it’s something special.

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Last weekend on East Leaf Lake between Henning and Ottertail, the mornings were crisp and the lake was clear. The smell of cheap coffee wafting through the cabin and creaking floorboards beneath excited, little feet in the morning let you know it was time to get up.

It was time to spend the day at the lake.

My daughter caught her first fish with her grandfather and I. My son went for his first boat ride. We watched minnows swim among the weeds there through the clear water at the end of the dock.

It was a weekend of firsts for the children, and weekend of nostalgia for their father.

&8220;I like petting the fish and then they prickle me,&8221; Tierney Hammer, 3, said. &8220;But I don’t like it when they prickle us.&8221;

After catching a dozen or so fish and returning them to be with their &8220;mommies and daddies,&8221; she decided she likes prickle fish (a.k.a. sunfish) put doesn’t like to touch them on their backs.

Tierney and her brother Elliott splashed in the cool, clear shallows next to the lillie pads and when the weekend was over, Tierney took one of those lillie pads, the size of a silver dollar, home with her. As the lillie pad dried up and curled, she continued to sniff it like a flower because smelled like lake.

The lakes and wooded areas in central Minnesota have long been considered a getaway where many childhood memories are created and for those who have been there, it’s obvious why.

Being on the lake means letting your arms go limp and feeling the muscles in your shoulders relax. It means hearing your children laugh and laughing with them.