Posted by: soniahs | June 27, 2011

That story about the leech…

On our recent Great Lakes trip, we started off with a visit to western Wisconsin. When my sister & I were young, our grandparents bought a vacation house on a lake in a small town there, and we used to go up there for family weekends in the summers. When my grandparents passed away, my aunts took over the house, and they and my cousins (and their kids) still spend a lot of time there.

I hadn’t been back to the lake house for several years, and Yan had never seen it. So this was a good opportunity to visit with relatives and reminisce to Yan about summers at the lake.

The backyard is still pretty steep, but for some reason the hill seems much less scary now...

So, two incidents from childhood that came back to me at the lake both involved invertebrates behaving badly… at least from our perspective at the time.

First, the lake is fairly tannin-rich, meaning the water’s not super clear. One day (I must have been six or seven) I was wading in the shallow part of the lake, in the shade. When I got out of the water, there was a huge black leech stuck to my shin! I’m sure I freaked out a bit, and then some adult pulled the leech off. Of course, then blood started to trickle down my leg from the leech bite. So I fainted. (This is a family trait, mind you.) After coming to, I got a lot of teasing from my relatives.

The second incident happened to my sister, probably a different summer. She was playing in the backyard with my cousins, and I was sitting on the deck, probably reading. I remember all of a sudden hearing her scream, and seeing her running across the backyard hitting herself on the side of the face. Apparently, a wasp had gotten under her hair and was stinging her on the ear, repeatedly. After the wasp had been squished, and she was calming down on the porch with an ice cube on her earlobe, my other memory of that incident was my aunts and uncles joking that now they just needed to find a wasp for the other ear and she could put in earrings right then and there. This event must have traumatized her, because it took her until high school to actually get her ears pierced.

Okay, so these certainly aren’t the most traumatic childhood stories, but they were dramatic at the time.

Looks peaceful, except for the nasty leeches lurking under the water's calm surface.

One of the exciting events of the weekend was taking the pontoon over to town and going to Dairy Queen. Hey, it’s small-town Wisconsin, and this is good wholesome entertainment.

The DQ was just up the road from the park. (Photo: Y Fernandez)

The pontoon was exactly as I remember it- which is a bit scary, considering it had been over a decade since I had been on it last. But its structural integrity held for the entire trip.

There are a lot of new, big houses on the lake, which was a bit strange to see. It’s nice that the family house is in an area that hasn’t been developed this much and is still pretty green.

Aunt Barb and some serious construction. (Photo: Y Fernandez)

So, a good visit, and a good start to our vacation.

Sunset on the lake. (Photo: Y Fernandez)

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