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The Slice: Summer dreams

Nothing beats the thought of lake life in the Inland Northwest.
Nothing beats the thought of lake life in the Inland Northwest.

There’s no better time to imagine a hot day at the lake

You could argue that this is the best time of year for enjoying “the lake.”

No, not because of ice fishing or other winter pursuits. I’m thinking more along the lines of the perfect Inland Northwest daydreams.

You know, the Hawaiian shirt kind of fantasies where you see yourself guffawing on a sun-soaked sailboat or flopped in a hammock near the water’s edge — halfheartedly trying to stay awake enough to maintain your tenuous grip on a glass of iced summertime elixir.

The middle of January is the ideal time for these imaginary trips to the lake. In daydreams, everything can be just right.

No sand in the swimsuits. No arguments with 13-year-olds about life preservers. No fish-hook mishaps. No buzzing motorized watercraft operated by a guy who just chugged a six-pack of Keystone.

The lake scene you picture in the middle of winter can be a faultless idyll. The sun is out. The water is surprisingly warm. And the people are not annoying.

“Heidi Klum? What are you doing in Idaho?”

“I left the kids with Seal for the week. Put some lotion on my back?”

“OK, but this little strap is sort of in the way.”

“Here, let me get that.”

The reality out your in-town window at this time of year can be bracing, even for those who don’t mind winter.

But if you close your eyes and ease back into your chair, it’s possible to transport yourself to a sunset cookout on the beach. Friends are laughing. Co-workers and relatives are engaging in gossipy conversations you want to join. Smiling strangers out on a boat are waving. The smell of the fire mingles with the scent of the nearby water.

And you don’t want to open your eyes, because then it will all be gone.

Of course, one marvelous thing about a midwinter lake reverie is that it needn’t correspond with real life.

Maybe you seldom go anywhere near a lake come summer. You can still savor the quintessential Inland Northwest lifestyle in a theoretical way.

There’s no need to wait.

Say, can you smell that? Is that s’mores?

Today’s Slice question: What do you suppose people say about you behind your back?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email It’s not unheard of for best friends to have the same first name.

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