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John Lamb, Published August 27 2011

Lamb: Holding onto my ‘Precious’

OK, now it’s time to panic.

No, I’m not fretting over Hurricane Irene being a more destructive windbag than any politician or pundit.

Nor have I lost total faith in our economy and cashed in stocks and bonds to buy an underground bunker stocked with an Armageddon’s supply of Dinty Moore Survival Stew.

It’s not even the Twins making me nervous. I gave up on that disabled wish list by mid-May. (I miss you, Jim Thome!)

What’s got me anxious is the looming end of summer, drawing closer with every story about another hole in the Vikings’ game.

And not just the end of summer but specifically loss of lake time.

Time at the lake cabin becomes a rather territorial obsession. I become a calendar-watcher in mid July, wincing as the days fall away.

Coveting cabin time like Golum grasps for his “Precious,” I turn my back

on friends. If they want to hang out, they better have transportation for a 45-minute trip to Becker County.

Friends who return from far-away locales had better arrange visits in advance because I am not driving into town to go out for coffee.

My friend Erica recently visited to celebrate her 40th birthday. We negotiated terms of my rare weekend appearance in the city – she had to guarantee she would stay out for at least three hours.

Another friend, Marty, flew up from Mexico to see his grandfather memorialized with the opening of Davies High School. I made plans to see him Thursday before I left town and considered coming back early Sunday for the dedication but preferred the prospect of spending time in a hammock and listening to the lake over sitting on a folding metal chair in a gym and listening to people talk.

Once the hammock is rolled up and stuffed under one of the bunk beds, I’ll be left to nap and read while lounging on a lowly couch like some city-slumming commoner.

It’s not like our family spot is fancy. The refrigerator door has so much rust on it I prefer to forget it was once white and allow myself to describe it as “coppertone and textured with sponge-painting.”

The exposed chip-board floor under the sink absorbed so much water from a quiet leak that the surface swelled, buckled and eventually sprouted mushrooms.

I view this as an unintended positive as it could poison any visiting mice or at least give them such a bad trip they’ll never return.

Another positive aspect of the destruction means I’ll have a good reason to spend weekends there, putting in a new floor.

Sure, the plumbing will be turned off and the weather will be colder, but I’ve got wood to burn in the fireplace and can heat up a can of Dinty Moore Solitary Stew.

And if the mice come out, I’ll even have company.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533