Summer’s Gone

It would be a gross misstatement to say that this was a typical summer. As I write this blog, we are in the process of wrapping up our last week of cottage time. My wife shares the cottage they inherited from their parents with her two brothers and that means her time share amounts to five weeks every summer. In a normal year we might, at most, use parts of two or three weeks and then embark on more distant trips to all those places we dreamed our retirement would take us. Not so in the summer of COVID-19. All big travel trips had to be put on hold and with many of our local haunts closed or limited, the cottage proved to be the our only get away and this year saw us at the cottage for all of my wife’s five weeks.

I will be the first to say it, thank God for the cottage. We spent hours reading, hiking, kayaking, biking riding and if you are a regular reader, you know there was a lot of time spent watching my grandchildren fish, which by the way, is pure joy. There were evening campfires complete with the typical word games, stories and s’mores. There was the simple pleasure of spotting the lake’s two loons, the eagles as they soared above and the deer that would quietly visit our cottage as we sat stone still observing them. My grandchildren and I even invented several games, Road Golf being their most popular. With Road Golf, we took it so far as to write up the rules and then refine them as the game demanded. Note to my readers, send me a request via email and I’ll send you a copy of the rules. Equipment is minimal, a good rock and a pair of old shoes.

The five weeks spread out across three months flew by and here we are, a few days away from Labor Day and the traditional marking of summer’s end. The cottage will be closed up for the season as soon as my brother-in-laws’ final two weeks are logged. And then it will sit, silently enduring the long winter months and heavy snows of northern Wisconsin. But spring will eventually arrive and the cycle of family visits will start anew. The question will be, how will 2021 compare to 2020? Let’s hope more like the old normal we are all longing for now.

But it is what it is. We all traveled afar, far less. We visited our family and friends less in person and far more virtually. We reinvented our traditions, our birthdays, graduations and family celebrations. We read more and socialized less, we ate in way more than we used to eat out. Like it or not, COVID has changed us. Some of those changes may become permanent while others will have been just for now, just for the pandemic. Summer is not really gone, it actually has another month left according to the calendar. In this year, it might feel like it never existed, especially if we only look at what we didn’t get to do. But, if we can reflect on what we did do, especially those things that were different, well then it might have actually been a great summer.

Patience will see us through this. Paying attention to personal habits and keeping each other safe will make it pass quicker. Summer is ending, but it was never gone. And it will come again. Here’s hoping it will be COVID free next time around and that some of our new traditions and activities will survive the test of time and be part of it.

Happy Labor Day


  1. Beth · August 31, 2020

    Your granddaughter (name please?) looks like someone to recon with. You are building new traditions at the cabin. What a wonderful gift to enjoy forever.


    • kwundrow · August 31, 2020

      Her name is Adela. She is named after my aunt who at the age of 100 was still telling the family history and humoring us with off color remarks and jokes. She so inspired my two daughters that it was a given that the first female child would bear her name. Adela is witness to her namesake each and every day…strong willed, constantly making us smile and laugh and independent as a three year old can be. Boundaries are something she sets and not just accepts.


  2. Beth · August 31, 2020

    Keep writing, Ken. You are recording history. Be safe/stay well. Hi to Deb.


  3. kwundrow · August 31, 2020

    Thanks Beth. Maybe it’s the old History minor in me. I always wanted to teach a history class so now I enjoy telling it.


  4. Gretty · August 31, 2020

    Your grandchildren are adorable. So glad you have enjoyed the COVID escape hatch name “cottage”.


    • kwundrow · September 1, 2020

      Thank you. Not quite like the variety you can enjoy as an RV’er, but at least it is a change of scenery from the back yard. Really hope and pray that we can escape this pandemic and that we find the leadership to get back to what ever normal will look like. Both you and John stay safe out there.


  5. Beth · August 31, 2020

    Ken, I hope you’re making a scrapbook of all your journal entries and pictures. What a gift it would be for you family. 📸📸📸📸

    Sent from my iPad



  6. kwundrow · September 1, 2020

    I have all the journal entries but I need to transfer them to book form for my children and grandchildren. This whole journey has been a combination of my desire to keep telling the stories from one generation to the next but to also try to state my opinions in as positive a format as I can. If I inspire at least one other person to do the same for their families, then I consider my efforts a success. Truth be told, I still just enjoy the opportunity to write.


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