Summer Dinners on the Lake

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When Dad built our house he dug a lake next to it. We call it a lake because it wasn’t an ordinary pond–it was large and curvy–and we liked calling it ‘our lake’. The water is bedded between grassy embankments. A gravel drive curves along it, leading up to the garage.

Dad built a dock for Mom, and she furnished it with an outdoor dining set. He bought a canopy to shade it so that the dock looked like a green striped pavilion. We enjoyed several summer dinners under that canopy. The water would glisten as it does when the sunlight hits it just so. Cicadas, crickets and frogs would serenade us. Sometimes the breeze would ruffle the trees and you could hear the lazy maraca-like shh-shh pepper the symphony of insects.

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Dinner outdoors were more languid. One could prop up one’s feet on an empty chair without being reprimanded. Eating with fingers were acceptable. After a meal, no one rushed off to tackle the dishes or turn on the television. We just sat, sipping our drinks, conversing, taking our time to enjoy an extra helping of dessert. Momentarily time was on pause. Sometimes we sat in silence looking at the ripples on the lake, feeling the breeze wash over the heat.

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Food tasted better when eaten outdoors.

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One summer Dad bought us a paddle boat that came equipped with a canopy. (We’re fans of shade.) It was a four-seater, two seats up front with paddles and the steering handle was between the seats, and two seats in the back. Many summer mornings and afternoons were spent paddling aimlessly and lazily upon the lake. Sometimes my brother swam, and sometimes I laid on the water.

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Sometimes we saw turtles bobbing their heads. Sometimes fish splashed to the surface. Sometimes we spied snakes craning their bodies like periscopes, surveying their surroundings and then retreating beneath the water.

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We left the creatures alone, and they returned the courtesy.

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This grilled corn salad brings back memories of those summer dinners on the lake. The flavors are fresh, vibrant and just right for those daylight evenings when you want to put your feet up and admire the way the world looks on a summer night.

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All images @ 2013 Sriprae P. McDonald

Recipe courtesy of Notions and Notations of a Novice Cook

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