Lake Elmo

It’d been months since we’d gotten out as a family. The last time it was when Halloween and Election Day got combined. Voting in costume was quite a sight, or “quite a fright” as cousin Dickie said when he saw all those vampires with their plastic fangs and their “I Voted” stickers. With fuel bricks for the car being in such short supply me and Dickie ride our bikes mostly, but Mama and Jupie-June need the car to get around. The Sportsman’s Club across from the lake advertised a “Fisherman’s Breakfast Special” and nobody is going to say that a bacon, egg, and cheese on a hard roll served with a bottle of imported beer isn’t worth $5. Today being opening day they had a crowd. The start of Fishing Season and Easter are combined on the same day now.
There was an egg hunt next to the lake. It was fun for the kids, once they got used to the smell. Dickie went off to get us four breakfast specials and by the time he was back I had Jupie-June and Mama all set up in lawn chairs down by the water. There’s nothing worth catching in Lake Elmo, at least nothing you can eat, but the ladies had magnets on their lines instead of bait and we casting for those electronic mud skippers. They were robot fish who’s batteries had died years ago. The ladies would take them apart with pliers and use the pieces for making jewelry. They had a stand out on the state road and sold vegetables, fire wood and crafts to the summer people. Jupie-June loved making up “Ancient Legends of the Lake” to tell the tourists.
Stories about the gods of the lake or alien visitors from space, and all these gods and visitors had faces exactly like the robot fish! Her best sales pitch story was for the earring and necklaces.
Tourist ladies could wear then with the heads pointed up as birth control, or with the
heads pointed down to promote fertility. If you wore some up and some down I don’t know what the hell would happen. For the gents Mama had come up with these two headed money clips.
She always called them “Big Money” clips, implying that having one in your pocket was bound to attract riches. Between the jewelry and the produce they made out all right.
Now the story I heard about the robot fish, maybe true and maybe not, was the government dumped them into the lake years back to destroy the underwater marijuana crop the kids planted in the muddy bottom. They’d planted the seeds hoping things would go unnoticed with all the duck weed around. I don’t know much about hydroponics, but seems like all that would do is get the frogs high (as if you could tell).
Now Dickies gone back for at least thirds on breakfast, claims sea gulls or maybe crows
stole the first couple when he wasn’t looking. Doesn’t seem real likely. I’ll believe it when the birds bring back the empties for the deposit.

Doug Mathewson