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“The Villa”



I’m not a “lake person.”

Several years ago I was half owner of a nice undeveloped lot, but we bought when the market was high and had to sell when it tanked. Lost our shirts or took it in the shorts or some other allusion to clothing. For at least a couple summers, though, we dutifully drove out to Audubon, turned right a couple times, parked the car and hacked through the brush to find the shore. Nothing was ever built; not even a fire.

The cabin was easy to imagine: something Sarah-Susanka-small, long before she wrote the books on not-so-bigness. Our intention would have been anything other than lake homes we’ve seen. The sort that reproduced everything they’d tried to get away from in town: a duplicate of every tool, appliance, and amenity left behind in Fargo-Moorhead. As a joke among ourselves, we’d invented a generic “Lake Stainless,” having once heard someone scouring Dayton’s for the perfect cutlery. I could name names.

My vision of lake life for Agincourt’s citizens is a pre-WWI world of intermittent electricity and erratic plumbing. The sort of place where using the toilet required pumping a bucket of water before getting down to business: you were your own flush tank. A place where you read by the light of a bare 25-watt bulb dangling on a naked cord and listening to the radio entailed half an our on a stationary bike attached to a battery.

This postcard of early 20th century resort life says it all. And I’m sure its story will be told in due course.

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