Being a “big career girl” now, I constantly reminisce about happy, carefree, childhood memories spent with family. I often wish I could return to those memories, even for a moment, to experience missing crayons as my only worry once more. Another perk of returning to my childhood is reuniting with precious loved ones. One memory I favor most is spending long summer days at Clear Lake in Northeastern, South Dakota, about twenty-five miles east of Britton, South Dakota. Not only is it a beautiful environment, but it is also a place full of memories spent with family as my grandparents resided along the lake for most of my childhood.
These memories remained with me as I chose my grandparents’ lake home, as well as the lake itself, as the subject of a poem I wrote for my Creative Writing class at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. The objective was to choose a place and incorporate all five senses within the composition. The composition describes a family trip to Clear Lake to visit Grandpa Duane and Grandma Bonnie. This poem became especially important to me when my grandfather passed away in October later that year. Clear Lake was special to him to as he was a true fisherman. He enjoyed teaching his grandchildren how to fish off the dock. Along with being a fisherman, Grandpa was a man of nature in general as well. He would always comment on the birds that inhabited the area and the flocks of geese that would fly over. Nothing pleased Grandpa more than his family. He was amused by teasing his children and grandchildren by stating phrases such as, “You gotta stop taking so darn many ugly pills!” and “Dessert? You don’t want that. I’ll get a can of peas for you instead.” His laugh and proud gaze will remain in my family’s memories forever. When my grandfather passed in October of 2012, this poem was displayed at his funeral as I remember him telling me he had tears in his eyes when the poem was read to him. Whenever I glance up at the sky and see a flock of geese making their way, or an old fishing pole, or the crashing of the gentle waves of Clear Lake, I will remember Grandpa and his most famous line, “Glad ya got to see me! (Come again soon when you don’t have to stay so long!)”