"Before moving to Montreal in the 4th grade, we used to go “up to the lake” every summer with my grandma and grandpa for a whole week. We’d stay in a cabin at a resort in the Brainerd area. The smallish lake was crystal clear, and we stayed in the same cabins every year. We kids would play shuffleboard, tetherball, and swing on the swings when our mom would make us take a break from the water where we would be every waking moment if allowed (those agonizing 30 minute waits after eating were torture!).
Our trip to the lake would always include a visit to Nisswa; a tourist town back in the day, where we’d look at souvenirs and beg to get gumdrops and other candy that seemed specific to this trip, like little colored dots on a ribbon of paper and candy cigarettes. I nearly always got a new pair of moccasins from my grandma there too. I’d wear those things all summer long with every outfit, much to my sort of fancy mom’s dismay. When school would start in the fall she’d ban them and insist I convert to “school shoes”, and by the following spring I’d have outgrown my old favorite mocs, and would anxiously wait for our trip to the lake.
I don’t really wear them anymore, but having a pair always makes me feel like a MN girl somehow, and reminds me of those classic summer trips to lake country."