Every time I visit, I always remember the sound of the water, the curious lapping against the stones that construct the foundation. The sound is inescapable, working its way into the banks of your memory, cementing itself before the inevitable departure. The mixture of boat fuel and sunscreen engages your nostrils when looking out over the water. Boats pass frequently, the occasional screaming teenager being pulled on a doughnut with straps, having fun for he first time since their parents dragged them out for "family time". As the boat careens through the water the teenager slides off the back of the donut, a skipping stone being thrown into the abyss. The scowl returns to her face as her dad flips the boat around. That one must have hurt I mutter to myself.
Our house on Lake Flathead was built in what seems like the 1820's but probably somewhere closer to 1955. The carpet, the acting towel for all sopping wet children, is an extremely fashionable plaid not dissimilar to the flannel of a lumberjack permanently stained with salsa, mayonnaise, and blood from my sister's broken nose. My mother continuously badgers the rest of my father's family, saying that we need to rip it out and burn it. Just thinking about the stench of burning mayo-wool makes my spine shiver. My Aunt Heidi always says no to changing the carpet though, "Mom bought this carpet and I'll be damned if I get rid of it over a few little stains!".
As soon as we get to the house, all us kids beeline for the uneven, warped dock that even Jason Voorhees probably wouldn't have trusted. Polson winters are a harsh climate, and the toll it takes on the dock is no exception. Running, while unsafe, is strictly enforced by the unspoken code of the family. If you aren't running, jumping and swimming for most of the day, you might as well go back home. There, you can sit on the couch, flip through reruns of Murder, She Wrote, and disappoint the family somewhere else.