For over 50 years, my family has been frequenting Back Lake in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. Only miles shy of the Canadian border, it is our family tradition.
It was my grandfather and his buddies who first started going up annually for a men’s fishing retreat. Over the years, it spilled into many separate annual outings that included their wives and children, their spouses, and close family friends.
My parents incorporated Back Lake and the Tall Timber Lodge into their anniversary every year. Fishing and then golf at the Colebrook Country Club embraced them for four days every June, as a respite from parenting.
When my sisters and I got old enough to enjoy fishing, moose “hunting” and reading, we were included on occasion too. Back Lake is like one of the family; it seems to be the backdrop of every other family story. There are so many, many fond and funny memories.
It was so very welcoming when I walked into the lodge this past weekend and the owners remembered me and could recall the members of my family who had darkened their doorway so many years ago. And imagine, my father hasn’t missed a year for 49 years!
In the fish room, there is still a polaroid of my grandmother holding the “big one” that she caught out of the lake back in 1987.
All the little details such as the same turquoise fishing boats, dock configuration, and cabin numbers made me feel right back at home.
There have been updates along the way, and COVID-19 certainly put a damper on eating in the lodge this year, but our lunches were still made with homemade bread and packed to go. How fun it still is to fill out the lunch order slip the night before and pass it in at the lodge’s front desk.
We are a typical family, with many personalities, and hot buttons that occasionally get pushed. But at the end of the day, we all enjoy each other’s company, love each other fiercely, and take every opportunity we can to spend time together. This weekend was no exception.
All of our trips to Back Lake are like glue.
I hope you have a place for your family that reminds you of all your good times, and enhances the many layers that bond you all together, forever.
I hated driving away today, I wasn’t ready to leave. But the good news is that we will be back again next year. And it was pretty special to line the 4th generation of Back Lake goers up in front of the sign to get their picture taken. If my grandfather only knew …
As the years go by, my kids and their cousins will build upon a stack of great memories that will be held together by the glue of tradition.
I just hope that Grammie’s picture is still hanging in the fish house for their kids to see!
I also want to remember all of the brave men and women who have fallen to make our memories possible. How blessed we are. I am sending great love and thankfulness out to the universe for them in honor of Memorial Day.