The Loh Life

Wisconsin: Beat on the brats--part 3

Sandra Tsing Loh enjoys her vodka tonic while watching old reruns of Lawrence Welk.

So I’ve been describing the fabulous time I had in a Wisconsin LAKE lodge with a friend’s PARENTS.

Tuck and Tweedie aren’t just WASPS, given to PLUMPING tartan PILLOWS and SAYING things like: "Oh Tuckie, remember when Taffy had her puppies?"

They are ALSO 72 and 74, which to ME is the new 38. As I careen towards 50, with WAY too many sandwich generation CARES, I feel as OLD as the HILLS. So it was GREAT to hang out with hale and hearty 70-somethings with a pontoon BOAT, a cocktail hour and RETIREMENT savings!

How much fun WAS this, waving my vodka TONIC in the afternoon, and watching old RERUNS of Lawrence Welk on Wisconsin public TELEVISION as we called out the names of our favorite tunes.

I was shocked at how many I KNEW: "The Wabash Canonball--Oh my God, I LOVE the Wabash Canonball!" Then, on the record player--remember those?--we played Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles and Willie Nelson-- The great thing about 70-somethings is their MUSIC-- You don’t have to fake KNOWING anything about Beyonce or Lady Gaga--

Then again, maybe I’m NOT quite ready for WASP retirement.

The first MOMENT of CONFUSION came when their son NIPPY pulled a good-sized bass out of the lake--

And they let it GO.
I was bewildered. "You’re letting it GO?"
"That's not an eating fish," said Tuck.
"Since when is a bass not an eating fish?" I wondered.

I guess—unlike the MIDWESTERN fishing I’M used to, WASPS do not consider anything in a LAKE an eating fish. It’s ALL catch and release-- even when one WALLET-sized SUNNY chomped a bit too AGGRESSIVELY into his leech and the most careful PLIER work couldn’t REMOVE him without injury. They extricated the hook, and away he swam with a bloody mouth.

"Aw, that’s too bad,” said Tweedie.

God forbid a fish should experience any DISCOMFORT during fishing.

No, what you do is throw BAIT into the LAKE for a few HOURS then you go IN and eat STEAK. But before that you warm up with salted nuts and salami and pickled herring, and hard cheese, soft cheese, and this being Wisconsin at least two different cheese SPREADS.

Next morning, it’s bacon and french toast to build up your STRENGTH to get INTO the car to drive to the roadside stand to get cranberry TRAIL MIX. By the third day, I was in a PANIC-- It was like they had a Wisconsin-sized hose of lard they were constantly SPRAYING at my torso-- Which soon took on the feel and dimensions of a large log of soft Wisconsin cheese-- And I just kept getting HUNGRIER-- The salted nuts WHIPPED me into a frenzy--

When we LEFT, Tweedie was --I kid you not--ZIPPING frozen BRATWURST into my duffle bag!

Never again! I say -- Never! At least ‘til next year.


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