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Sturm und Drang (1.2)


Lake People

The Minnesota lake district east of Moorhead-Fargo is so populated during the summer months with people from Fargo-Moorhead that, frankly, I can’t see the point. Highway 10 is sclerotic on a Friday afternoon; the beaches are crowded, so are the restaurants, and driving back to town is a face-to-face encounter with death. If you have your own “lake place”, it’s practically guaranteed that you’ll own two of everything, one set in town, the other at the lake. I have enough to handle with just one home and that one is falling apart.

One summer about forty years ago, Jim and Sharon verDoorn rented a cabin on Maple Lake — one of dozens bearing that name across the Land o’ Lakes — which they used on weekends, the VD’s were very generous in making their rental available to me during the week. And the experience was almost completely reversed: I drove alone and unimpeded on Highway 10 as the hoards formed a forty-mile traffic jam on their way back. The lake itself was abandoned and the cabin primitive; no running water, only a radio, bare light bulbs, no telephone and that was a time long before cell phones. I was alone and ecstatic. It is those memories that flood my thinking about Agincourt’s counterpart, Lake Sturm und Drang.

The years from 1890 through the ’20s might have mirrored my own week-long lake experience fifty years later; a scale and pace so different from city life — which itself was far simpler than it is now. I’ve wanted to write about it comprehensively but never seem to get around to it; it remains a piecemeal tale told here and there, now and then throughout the blog. Perhaps the time has come to gather them for the exhibit in October: “Lake Life.”

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