“This is Lake Bertha in the Afternoon, brought to you from Lake Bertha, in the afternoon.” These words introduced a recorded radio broadcast from a summer week in northern MN. Each July our extended family rented an entire resort on Lake Bertha near Pequot Lakes. During those summer weeks we got to know aunts, uncles, and especially our cousins better than most of my friends knew theirs.

Sunset Knoll Resort was owned by George and Mary Terryberry – real names of people we did not get to know well. They took their own vacation during our week at the resort. We were reliable, and the men could repair anything that needed attention.

I learned to play bridge from the older generation; I played a mean game of shuffleboard, did lots of swimming, played my baritone ukulele for family sing-alongs on the beach, and enjoyed the simple pleasure of family. My aunt made oatmeal every morning; Dad made pancakes. We kids went from one breakfast table to the next, going in and out of the 8 cabins all day long. Evening meals were potluck, and Dad made beer-battered fish for fish fries.

Our “radio broadcast” was the brainchild of one of the older cousins, a sort of professional actor who was the spark behind our creative enterprise. It was a showcase for our creativity, writing silly words to familiar songs, creating and performing in a radio play with sound effects and spooky music. We wrote commercials for amazing, fantastic products. . .but wait, if you phone right now. . . When we were finished, we played it for the adults and enjoyed it all over again.

Magical memories. This was Lake Bertha in the afternoon.