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Hello Hillsboro: Too much missing in visit to the past
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Jane and I spent four days “up north” last week, one for every 10 years as we celebrated our anniversary. Of course, we were married at 14!

When we planned  our “mini” vacation in Minocqua, the “Island City,” it was to bring back some wonderful memories of the years we owned a cottage on Lynx Lake. It’s about midway between Boulder Junction and Presque Isle in “Wisconsin’s Last Wilderness.”

A cousin of mine owned Cedar Bay Resort on Oxbow Lake back then, and we spent many a week enjoying the fresh air, cool breezes, and “sparkling” water while swimming and boating with them and other cabin owners who became like family after a few years.

Anyway, we were in for a surprise when we arrived and found out that it was “Beeforama” weekend and 20,000 crazy beef-eating grillers had invaded the town to compete in a contest of alleged chefs.

We drove right through when we heard what was happening and considered heading for the Michigan border, but we managed to find a resort cabin for one night and a hotel room for three others! There wasn’t much left in the way of housing, or eating out for that matter.

All day Saturday it was wall-to-wall beef lovers throughout the downtown area.  They even closed down one lane of state highway that runs through the main part of town. We drove by just as “sightseers” and decided we didn’t want to spend five minutes in that mob!

They even had a “cow parade” and, of course, a cow chip throwing competition!

Who would want to eat a beef burger when the chef may have just finished competing in that contest?

Eventually, we continued north and stopped by our former cottage on Lynx Lake.

The couple who bought it about 15 years ago told us to stop in some day about 5 p.m., which was their regular martini time on the pier! We’ve never accepted their kind invitation, but this time we drove in the short road and found the place a bit overgrown.

It’s quite likely they don’t even own it anymore, but whoever does wasn’t around.

It had not changed much, although they had a big, modern garage that replaced our old log building that apparently had been built along with the cottage about 70 years ago!

We had stopped in several times over the years, but never found anyone home. We always were happy, however, that the old homemade tree house was still in the branches looking over the lake. Our kids almost “lived in it!”

This time, however, it had vanished, and for some reason that was disappointing to me. We had been warned, however, that the property had been sold last year.

“Maybe the new owners don’t have any kids, or even grandkids,” Jane suggested.

That might explain it, but somehow the place seemed like a strange waterfront without that “little house in the trees!”

There were three neighboring cottages, and we were quite friendly with the owners of all of them. Haven’t seen them in years, although we still exchange Christmas cards with two of the families.

My cousin is now in a nursing home and her husband, who had always been right there to help us when we needed a hand, or at least some advice, passed on some years ago. In addition, three of their four children are fishing in Heaven now, and I’m certain they are pulling in some big walleyes.

I can tell you this, all of them are sure missed when we visit Presque Isle.

It was a relaxing and enjoyable visit with the past, but I now understand what’s meant by the old saying, “You can’t go home again.” Even if it’s a summer home!