The old cane pole stood in the corner of the barn. The cow stable was covered with cobwebs and mounds of dust. A smell that was there when I was a child still lingered. Now the stable was full of all sorts of jumble. It hadn’t been used in decades. Dad didn’t do much on the farm at the end. I stood in the past looking at that old cane pole.
We were at my Aunt’s Lodge in Ludington, Mich. I must have been around 12 at the time. Dad and I had boated over to the Dunes to do a bit of investigating. Dad and I were really good at finding treasures. And once more we did. We found the old cane pole with hook and line intact. It became mine. No rod and reel could ever replace the fun I had with that old pole. Many a sunfish, blue gill, perch, catfish had dangled from the end of that line.
Today my memories got carried away. Perhaps it is the sunshine reminding me of summer excitement when it was warm enough to fish in the pond or in the creek. Better yet was a summer trip planned to Lake Hamlin and Aunt Bess. I decided to go online and take a look at the North Lake Shore. The beauty of Maps online is that you can actually see the houses and travel down the roads. I found the place where Aunt Bess and Uncle Sam wintered. The house with green shutters was probably one of the many while homes now lining the street. Then I traveled on down the road, an area built up over the years. Then I saw the bridge. I’d know it anywhere. I turned (as only you can do on Maps) and saw that the store had been replaced by a house. My heart sank. I turned to the other side and looked across the bayou. Across the bridge sat my cousin’s house. On the other side of the road, the cottages we had stayed at 40 years ago still stood. On down the road, Aunt Bess’s house sat painted a different color. The old Mead Cottage had a surround porch but still the old cottage remained.
I have wanted to return to the store, the bayou, the dunes of the past, but now I know that I cannot. We can’t go back. I have changed as much as has North Shore. But I do wish I had that old cane pole. I left it there in the corner thinking how silly it would be for a woman to get onto the plane with her precious pole. I think I might get out the old pictures of the lodge. I need to reinforce what was and not what is. For in those memories of a fishing pole in my hands lies the beauty of a time gone by.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.