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Faded Pictures from a Life: Summer Resort “Fun”

Summer Resort “Fun”


For some years most of my summer was spent working for my older brother in northern Minnesota. He was restoring and expanding a small resort. It had two old cabins and he built two more himself. It had fishing boats to rent out and a very small store in the front of his house and in later years he added a campground.

He was a brusk, strong, bad-tempered, hard-working young man. There seemed nothing he could not do. If he didn’t know how to do it he would teach himself. The work I most remember was clearing land. He handled the chain saw and I made the brush piles and loaded the pickup with wood. The sticky heat, the mosquitoes, the ticks, the biting flies all made it most unpleasant work. This was yet another reason I decided to go to college. I was convinced that manual labor was not for me. After work it was into a fishing boat and off to catch some northern pike. This was not recreational fishing, it was catching dinner. Back on shore he rapidly filleted the fish, we heated a pot of rarely changed oil, I sliced up potatoes and put them in the boiling oil, he fried the fish and dinner was ready.

I remember another dinner too. A number of the neighbors in the woods had simply not modernized. They had electricity but no indoor plumbing. Modern housekeeping and hygiene also had not been adopted. An old couple leading such a lifestyle invited the two of us for dinner one evening. The food was edible and a cake with white frosting sat in the middle of the table. There were a goodly number of flies buzzing about the house and one them greedily landed on the top of the cake. The old woman with lightning speed had an old fly swatter in her hand and drove the fly deep into the frosting. She then picked the fly out with her fingers, dinner went on, and at the end the cake was eaten.

Summer Resort “Fun”, acrylic on shuen paper, 9″x12″, 2021, Mark W McGinnis

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