Recalling a favorite childhood place is not an easy endeavor for a person of my temperament. Through a hazy memory instances and occurrences come fleeting through my mind like clouds floating across a colored sky. I can recall happy memories, and sad ones. Both are there, only their shapes differ; clouds too offer up different shapes. My problem lies in the actual choosing of a place that I can call favorite. Many different places come to mind, but each one has to be ruled out, for always some glitch appears and floats across a foggy memory that has not yet been burned away by the hot summer sun.
My impulse is to enter upon memories that cause some pain in my being. If I had the choice, I would wipe these memories clear away, so as to never have occasion to recall them again. But, through force of will and some effort, I have decided upon a place that can perhaps qualify as a favorite. Like the North Star, it shines a bit brighter than the stars that surround it; but alas, it is still a star. And so, onto my favorite childhood place.
Getting there was always an adventure in itself. Car or boat were the two options of conveyance. The road was terrible. Getting our old Volvo Station Wagon over and around the pits, ruts, and fallen trees involved tactics of fable: feats that no ordinary mortal would dare to attempt. At least, that is how I perceived the various trials from the back seat of the car. I was only aware that Dad would frequently stop the car and exit, to examine, saw, or do whatever was necessary for us to go further on our journey. I sat silently and waited for the journey to come to a conclusion. The destination is what I longed for.
Conveyance by boat was more exhilarating for a boy like myself. Adventure on the high seas with some risk always provided some excitement. Like, for instance, watching the wake of the boat. The reason for my fascination with the shape of a boat's wake eludes me now, but I do remember that I was not alone in my observation and analysis. My younger brother also shared in the boat wake vigil.
Arrival at our lakeshore property brings me to my favorite place: a wooden dock, about fifteen feet long and six feet wide. On this dock I spent some of my happiest childhood moments.
My brother and I had a fleet of toy boats. Boats of every type and colour. And to the tip of each boat we tied a long piece of string. We then wrapped the other end of the string around and around a small piece of wood which would thereafter be a handle. By grasping the handle in our small boy hands and placing the boats in the water, we immersed ourselves in endless hours, nay, in endless days of fun and adventure. We raced around the dock with our small boats splashing in tow, inventing stories of adventure and intrigue, manipulating the boats to do high flying daredevil jumps or to cruise at optimal speed creating the perfect wake. Only when we splashed our sister for the umpteenth time and Mom could no longer...