Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The outhouse on Lime Lake

Where I grew up in Leelanau County in northern Michigan was a small round lake called Lime Lake. It was a shallow lake with water that always seemed murkier than the water in the dozens of other lakes in the area. I do remember there was a good fishing spot near the middle of the lake where you could see the tops of some still-standing trees. I always thought the thin dead trees that, instead of arriving at, seemed to appear in the water below were creepy. I felt that if I fell out of the boat I would be impaled on those dead knobby fingers.

In the years before middle school my boyhood chums were Greg, Bobby and Brian. They were three brothers who were all eventually sports stars in our high school. Bobby and I were the same age and Greg was a year older than us. Brian was three years younger than me and Bobby. The summer after my sixth grade year the four of us were hanging out at a public access site on the shore of Lime Lake. We were throwing rocks in the water, tromping through the woods, hanging around and just hoping for something to happen that would be stimulating.

Near the graded area that allowed folks to back their boat trailers into the lake there was a wooden outhouse. I don't know who started throwing rocks at the outhouse but before the first person really got started we were all throwing rocks at the outhouse.

Let me clarify that we were not attempting to knock over the outhouse. We were not even trying to put holes in it. There wasn't anyone inside that we were trying to scare, surprise or deafen. Just know that rocks rebounding off a sturdy wooden outhouse make a hell of a satisfying noise. Smaller rocks have more a crack to them. Bigger rocks tend to thud. We started laughing and running around the gravel drive searching for rocks that would fight nicely into our fists.

Then we heard an authoritative, deep and scary male voice holler, "Hey!!"

Part II will come later, man. I gotta get back to work.

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