Home base — a place to rest, make memories with family





Hide and go seek.

All great games have a home base. A specific place to rest. A particular place to regroup, where it is safe.

Home base for our kickball games when growing up was a chalk line we drew in the middle of Rose Lane about 10 steps from the manhole cover, also known as the pitcher’s mound. Third base was and still is the white-painted oval rock that established the end of our gravel driveway.

Home base at my grandparents’ farm was running through the back door and letting the screen door slam shut and standing nonchalantly next to my Grandma Hommel — usually after I teased or hit one of my cousins dead-on with a tomato.

Twenty-six years ago, the hubby introduced me to his favorite home base, the place his family ran to annually to slow down and regroup — Sandy Beach Lodge on Red Lake in northwest Ontario. Their home base became our home-base tradition. Our three daughters grew up flying in on a float plane to their home-cabin for a week each year.

Growing up climbing rocks as toddlers during our shore lunches, they’ve blossomed into tenacious fisherwomen. Weathering a sweltering afternoon sun or buckets of rain and wind until they’re drenched to their birthday suits, they continue to fish — because it’s rest, and they enjoy it.

Phoebe, 19, cast and snagged a 40- and 42-inch northern pike on a silver No. 5 Mepps last week. Alexandria, 24, had her most successful walleye year ever, using her neon yellow jig with a minnow.

On the third day, I sat in the boat with her and watched her bring up a walleye every single time, just moments after her jig hit the bottom. This is the same little girl who, when she was 10, refused to bait the minnow on her hook until it quit moving. This year she landed a solid 27-inch walleye among the other 60 she pulled up.

Chloe and her husband, Michael, had finals and work last week, but the thing about having a home base is, if you can’t make it one year, you have the memories that last you until the next time.

The hubby is looking especially rested and content this week. That’s what mornings of trolling for walleye, fresh shore-lunches over an open fire surrounded by forests of conifers and birch trees, and afternoons of casting for northern pike bring — home base.