Love Letter to Lake Dad, Vol. III

To round out our Father’s Day series on lake dads, it’s my turn to share thoughts about my dad - the face behind so many of the shop’s inventory shots and Instagram posts. This will be easy, and I’m totally taking the easy way out and killing two birds with one stone because this is definitely going to be his Father’s Day card, too. -Katherine

So, I have a confession. I actually don’t like being at our cottage on the lake without my dad. There are a few reasons for this. Not only the obvious that he’s making sure that things are in full working order, which is no small task when you have an old cottage and an even older over-water crooked-door rotting-base boathouse. And that’s not even talking about the outdoor tasks and maintaining a monstrous stash of split wood for the winter. He keeps the boat working - and that boat is over 30 years old. He maintains the custom-made boat lift (which he’s rigged with all sorts of interesting efforts over the years). So, in essence, the infrastructure of the cottage situation is 100% up to him. Tasks he lovingly handles, never (...ok rarely) complains about. It’s obvious that he shows his love in acts of service to his family. And he likes to earn his happy hours…

But not only is the infrastructure important, he’s the ultimate comfort & a kindred adventurer. Of the 27 years of memories there, the best ones include him. When I want to jump in the lake when it’s not really warm enough to be sensible, he’ll join. When I need to go on a cocktail-heavy cruise around the chain to shed the weight of a hard week of work or a heavy heart, he’s already packing the cooler. And for the record, he never complains about bathroom pit stops, often the case with a boatful of chicks.

It’s at the cottage where he probably would have loved to have sons - someone to fish and do all the manly things that he loves. But, if ever thought that, you'd never know. He approached most of these activities in such a way that his three girls would happily join him. It’s because of him that I feel confident in so many situations that many people, not just girls, aren’t attuned to. His girls can start & tend fires, whittle campfire sticks (super important), bait a hook, remove the fish, ski…(..or something), split wood, shoot a BB gun, use a chainsaw, stack a woodpile, make bloody marys (that have made me a favorite in some friend/roommate circles and you can get the famous recipe here.) And the funny thing is that while we like to join him in these tasks, he’d happily do all of the hard stuff, no questions asked, for his girls without hesitation. 

Dad has taught me so much.  

He’s a walking example of dedication and hard work. Between the groundskeeping, meal prep (he’s the grillmaster), and actual work work (running a business is a 24/7 thing, y’all) he shows us that you need to prioritize what needs to be done. There is a time for work and a time for play, but you’ll feel better about the play when you know your ducks are in a row.  

Dad has never spoken about generosity, but his open door policy tells where he stands on paying it forward. Any/all are welcome at the cottage. Over the years we’ve had countless guests, and he never asks for anything in return except their respect of the physical space, an offer to help with dishes, and a sense of fun. And while we’d prefer you not bring your drama to the lake, of course if you actually need to talk about something, then he’s making a few beverages, sorting it out and strategizing next moves. Would he prefer that all guests bring TP and a case of High Life? Yes. Would he ever mention that? No.

Perseverance. From the fact that the cottage and boathouse and boat are still our family originals, you get a sense that he’s committed to longevity. With some tweaks and commitment, you don’t need to give up on a good thing. Work with what you have. And you’re not going to get away with not getting up skiing if you said you wanted to. He’ll stay out in that boat all day if it’s what it takes. He’ll even get in the water with you, coaching from his life jacket.

But at the same time, LET GO. Value true rest. He’s an early riser in the real world, but at the cottage he knows it’s time for sleeping in. He takes naps. He zones out on the pier solo. He lets his cell go missing, maybe with a dead battery. He knows that if someone needs to find him, they’ll call mom. He’s taught us that nature will ground you more quickly than anything else, and the lake is the best place to achieve that. Speaking of nature, how does he even know every type of bird that flies over our pier?

And some of my personal favorite things I love and appreciate about him are that at the lake he always encourages me to face fears, “live a little,” and stay wild & free. Up north we can be contemplative and restful and at a slower pace. Our souls rested and peaceful and free. That’s all great. But I love a different type of freedom, and that’s the wild kind. My heart hurts with happiness when we’re untethered and buzzed, with rosy cheeks and Chris Stapleton blowing through the speakers (the one upgrade he didn’t hesitate to add to the cottage). His air-guitar-game is STRONG.

Thank you for being my Lake Effect Co. model, for being an advisor in my two business, for being a damn good friend, and an amazing father to your daughters, steady and loving husband to your wife, trusted friend to so many. Every day should be Father’s Day because we need at least 365 to celebrate all the wonderful things about you.