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Spring...............................................................................................8 Of Sand.......................................................................................... 10 Instant Summer.......................................................................... 14 That Time...................................................................................... 16 Swimming Pools.......................................................................20 Collect Things............................................................................ 22 Summer......................................................................................... 26 The Summer of Our Lives.................................................... 28 Weekend Stretch...................................................................... 32 Small............................................................................................... 34 Rain................................................................................................. 38 W......................................................................................................40 Steady............................................................................................44 Gloom............................................................................................46

Cover art an original work by Neal Aspinall. Magazine title, Summer Homes For City People was borrowed from a 1898 real estate brochure called “The Story of Geneva Lake,� written by F.R. Chandler, under the auspices of the Lake Geneva Village Association. This magazine was printed by David Curry of Geneva Lakefront Realty, LLC. Any questions relating to this magazine or to future advertising may be made directly to Reproducing any of this content without owner consent is prohibited.

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This magazine is published for information and entertainment purposes only. Geneva Lakefront Realty LLC is not responsible for any claims, representations, or errors made by the publisher, author, or advertisers. For specific details, please consult your attorney, accountant, or licensed Realtor. Geneva Lakefront Realty LLC is a fair housing broker and limited liability company in the state of Wisconsin. Listings are subject to prior sale or price change.

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Hi. It’s summer and I’d like to thank you for picking up the 8th issue of Summer Homes For City People. Yes, that’s a smallmouth bass on the cover. Why a smallmouth bass? Because that’s the fish that I spent most of my childhood searching out. That’s the fish that I spent so many hours casting for, jigging chartreuse jigs near the cribs of these old white piers. Trout might have my attention today, but the mighty Lake Geneva smallmouth is the fish that has meant more to me than any other. It’s a new year, but I’d be remiss to not acknowledge what a year 2016 was. The lakefront market on Geneva was robust, and I was pleased to close a Walworth County record (as in, all time record, like since forever) $62MM in sales. That brings my sales tally since 2010 to a Walworth County market leading $210,000,000. That’s a number that I could have never reached without those prized clients and customers who trust me to guide their Lake Geneva real estate decisions. The markets today are active, though our vacation home inventory remains low. There will be mistakes made this summer; hot markets have a tendency to force buyers and sellers alike into these mistakes. But that’s why I’m here, to help guide and steady those who wish to buy or sell their own vision of Lake Geneva. Should you find yourself near our shores this summer and in need of some savvy real estate guidance, please do consider me at your service. I’m a marginally passable writer, a skilled fisherman, and a nostalgic Lake Geneva yarn-spinner; but most of all, I’d like to be your next Realtor. David C. Curry

Geneva Lakefront Realty, LLC 57 West Geneva Street, Williams Bay, WI 53191 262.245.9000 |



Spring You can hear it

The trees in my front yard are budding. The trees in my back yard are budding. The trees at my office are budding. I’d be willing to bet most of my things and some of yours that the trees in your yard are budding, too. The streams run high today, high with runoff from the thundery rain that fell on Sunday and again last night. The worms that will dry and die on my driveway today are the same worms that will dry and die on your driveway. Is it better to be those worms that must wait for the drying death or better to be the worms that washed into the trout streams where they will be eaten by the hungry trout that spent all winter wondering where the worms went? I’d prefer the stream worms, because at least they have an option. That’s more than we have. The silence of winter has been replaced with a most boisterous cacophony of birds. Song birds, little birds, big birds. In fact, birds so big that they swarm overheard in such great clouds, headed from the south and to the north, stopping here to breed, or to rest, or to eat our worms and rile up our dogs. The Sandhill Cranes are the superior Crane, making the Blue Heron look like a silly thing, like a small thing, like an unimportant thing. The Sandhill announces its arrival with such a great squawk that even the song birds and the Robins seek shelter. The ice of winter is generally quiet. The expansion booms and echoes are loud, but the rest of it is quiet. That quiet ice is all gone now, replaced with wind whipped waves that crash into shore and loudly announce their return. They’re here now, the waves, and the water is anything but quiet.



On Sunday, it was quiet, still, flat and smooth. The rare birds flew high over head and the song birds hid in the bushes that we’ll only know to be lilacs once they bloom, which is around the time the smallmouth bite heats up and the morels push free from the soil. It’s not quiet anymore. But in the quiet of winter there are things we can do. I skied this winter for the first time since childhood, and I skied so much that you’d think I enjoyed it more than I did. I made fires this winter, so many that it would be foolish to attempt a count. There were morning fires and evening fires, and yes, afternoon fires, too. There were fires upon fires, and when Able Dave comes to clean my chimney he’ll stand back and wonder the age of my house. Who could burn so many fires in such a short period of time, he’ll wonder. In the winter, the waiting is accepted. There’s nothing to do but burn those fires, ski those slopes, pack that snow, and wait. We wait in the quiet in the winter. But it’s spring now, and we still must wait. Now we wait in the noise; we wait in the wind and the thunder and under the lightning and around those birds. They’re chirping again, even though it’s colder today and it’s windier today and the ice is still gone and those overhead birds have been grounded. The worms are drying and others are being eaten. It’s getting louder, and soon it’ll be summer. The noise is the only sign we need.  Originally written March 16th, 2016. Spring has a way about it, and it’s not in the scenery, it’s in the sound.


of Sand

It’s annoying and it’s everywhere

Seeking a warmer sun and consolation for our winter condition, we boarded a series of planes and landed in a country to our south, far from the cold and the snow and so much pale. The flights were without incident, though I would add that every time a large tinny cylinder is rocketed above the clouds, ladened with bulk-purchased gallons of jet fuel to land safely is to cheat death. Still, the flight was comfortable and I was secure in knowing that should the plane crash I would at least die with my entire family, leaving no one orphaned or widowed and in that I took at least some comfort. The people on our journey south were nice, the flyers capable, the person in the chair in front of me only deciding once that it was acceptable to recline their seat back, and by default, foist the top of their head into my lap. In all, the panic attacks were brief, the hot flashes limited, and the journey from cold to warmth completed in under a day. It wasn’t the first day, but it was later that I’d be challenged to a game of bags by a local who wore the outfit of a hotel employee. I declined his first invitation and his second, but by his third I had begun slowly rotating my arms in small concentric circles. I warned him that I was a ringer, and when asked me to explain what ringer meant I explained that I was elite in this sport. After I explained with hand gestures and facial expressions what elite and sport meant, the game was on. I quickly fell behind, and his joy was obvious. I was on the brink of losing when I found my rhythm. Steadily I scored and scored and scored, and when it was over I landed the bag in the 15 slot and captured the win. I told my new friend that I wasn’t sandbagging him, that I was really and truly behind and only caught up because I was somewhat lucky. I explained what sandbagging meant, but in the presence of those bags and a beach full of sand my explanation was, in no way, understood. Later that night, when sitting in our hotel room, my wife ran a comb through my daughter’s hair. 10


The mix of chlorine and salt and sand had formed her hair into a shell, impenetrable by any comb but whose breach my wife attempted anyway, with downward rips through that hair, eliciting screams from my daughter and a grin from my son. I recalled my bags victory, biting at my fingernails and crunching the hidden sand between my teeth. Later that night, long after I had showered, and after much tossing and more turning, I jumped from bed to violently and repeatedly sweep my hand across the sheets to rid them of the sand that scratched at my sunburned back. The next day, while my kids were being thrown by the waves and my wife reclined in her shaded chair, my friend from the bags found me. He walked up with a grin, which is what, along with his white outfit, he is paid to wear, and asked me to play. Again. Having greatly enjoyed my prior day victory I obliged, and quickly jumped out to a lead. My smiling opponent had narrowed that lead some before I sank the last bag into the 5 slot, claiming victory for a second straight day. We had bet $20 on the prior day match, and in this match we loosely arranged to pay double or nothing, in which case I was immediately due $40. Being gracious, I let it go, because we never defined whose currency we would be paying the prize in, and if it were in his currency I had none present, and if I had my currency and not his, how would we handle the exchange rate? I explained to him what double or nothing meant while he grinned. At dinner, I crunched down on what I thought was a simple tortilla chip, but the crunch lingered well beyond the chip and after some consideration I determined it was sand. It might have been from when I was playing bags, or it could have been from when I was with my children and we let the waves push us into shore again and again, or it might have been from the pocket or fingernail of whomever served me those chips, or worse yet, it may have been


from the fingernail or pocket of the person that made the chips at the factory, who could tell? Later, I left a tip on the table for our smiling waiter, and my bills had sand on them, some salt, too, but mostly just sand. Later, I woke and angrily swept the bed again.

white-clad friend didn’t come back to pay because he thought I would ask for the $40, in our currency or his, whichever. We sat on the beach, and when the neighboring chair lady shook out her towel, I had sand in my eyes to match the sand in my teeth.

In the morning, my daughter had sand in her eye. It may have been both eyes, but we just washed water on her face as if it was both eyes. My son had a pile of sand in his swim short pockets, one pile in each. He dumped the sand out on the marble floor. That sand found its way onto my feet, and then in between my feet and my leather shoes, rubbing and causing a commotion while we walked to lunch. My tacos at lunch had tortilla and sand crunch, both gritty and both sticking in my teeth. Later, no one asked me to play bags. Word had gotten around that I was not to be trifled with, and my wife and I wondered if our

Last night, some days after I have had no sand exposure, I put on a pair of shorts that I must not have worn since we cheated death and flew so high for so long until we were home. The sand spilled onto the kitchen floor and I quickly swept it up, but not before one of my dogs ran through the pile. Later that night, I heard the dog scratching at his bed wildly and for a very long time. I understand, I thought. I understand. ď Ž Originally written January 26th, 2015. A quick trip to Mexico reminded me of how much I hate sand, and how much I love piers. SUMMER HOMES FOR CITY PEOPLE




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Instant Summer Throw the calendar out

As I understand it, when the temperature drops in Florida, panic ensues. Someone rushes to the store to buy supplies. Another person hurries out to throw blankets on the orange trees. Some old woman goes to the store to buy plastic so she can cover up her garden flowers that look the same in January as they do in July. Jackets fly off shelves, water bottles are scarce,  gas lines wrap around palm-tree-lined blocks. Things are not as bad as they could be, like when Atlanta experiences gridlock from 1/2 inch of snow, but things are generally very, very bad. This is what happens when the soft people face weather-based adversity. Compare that with those of us who live in this place. Last fall, it was nearly Thanksgiving. We had set out our finest dried corn arrangements and dusted off our turkey based decor. We were ready to celebrate the fall harvest. Then, just days before the fall holiday, it snowed. It snowed a lot. It was, as I recall, our largest snowfall of the winter and it happened a month before winter was set to start. Did anything strange happen as a result of this strange event? Did we rush to the stores and leave the shelves bare? Did we hoard gasoline in our red containers, expecting things to go from bad to worse?  Or did we all just wake up and go to work, knowing that Thanksgiving would be just fine, if a bit white and a tad wet? It was pretty nice out last Thursday. Warm, a bit windy, but sunny and pleasant. Friday was more of the same, and while showings homes that afternoon, I spied the canopy crews diligently snapping up pier canvas. Lawn crews bustled and hustled, raking and thatching and fertilizing and mowing. The grass has been green for a while now, but it hasn’t been this green since last August. The harbor has been filling with boats since the middle of last month, but now it’s fuller, and the detailers are hard at work, shining and washing and buffing those floating fiberglass houses. On Friday it 14


looked as though things were working out in our favor, but it couldn’t be forgotten that less than one week before I had been skiing on a thick base of white snow in this same state. Saturday awoke sunny and calm and finished sunny and calm. In between, the same pier crews bolted in their piers while the canopy crews snapped on their canvas. The lawn men raked and mowed and trimmed and mulched. The efforts were smooth and rehearsed, never mind that it’s mid April and in any other year we might not see this sort of pier activity until the first week of May.   By Saturday afternoon, the boats began to appear in greater numbers. Sailing scows slowly cut their zigs and zags from one point to another. The powerboats chugged and others raced, some just spun a slow circle around the lake to see what they had missed over the winter that started on that Sunday before Thanksgiving. New homes have been built, others razed. New pools are going in, patios expanded, landscaping made different, made better. This exploratory spring ride is necessary for each boat owner, and by Saturday the discovery of spring was well underway. Sunday it continued, more boats, more sun, warmer temps still. Stand Up Paddle boarders plied the water, the women wearing bikinis under that hot April sun. Kayakers paddled their way from one place to another, their peace interrupted only by the slow rolling wake of a Streblow or two. A Lyman heading West, the crew in short sleeves and sunglasses, holding their faces to the sun, reveling in the chance. It doesn’t take us long here to ready ourselves for this coming season. In fact, it doesn’t take us anytime at all. There is no panic. We’ve done this before. We launch the boats and zinc our noses and begin the march towards the season we wish would last longer than any other. Sure it’s only April, but the best way to enjoy summer is to


indulge it the moment it teases us with a warm afternoon and a gentle breeze more befitting August than April. ď Ž

Originally written April 18th, 2016. April was warm, May, too. Summer starts quickly, and you really ought to be ready.




T hat time

In Wisconsin, we have all the flowers

It’s a bit embarrassing for me to admit this. I didn’t do it on purpose, nor did I expect such an incredible, showy display. I didn’t mean for this to get so public, so unavoidable. When my wife and I planted so many seeds from a mix that I bought online, this was never the intent. But no matter how hard I tried to keep this just between us, between our family and our lot lines, this just happened. Nature cannot be stopped. This is why I now have a front yard riddled with cone flowers. You say, But David, I also have cone flowers. You may, but if you drove by my house today it’s obvious that I have all of the coneflowers. Every last one of them. In my yard, just blooming and blooming, unaware of the attention they draw even while I hide in the house, embarrassed by this  display that puts Holland and their scant tulips to shame. But it isn’t just my house and my property, as much as I wish it were, it’s everywhere. Drive Wisconsin today. Do it. Just get in your car and drive here. If you’re looking for high quality water in an elite level vacation home market, then, of course, you must come to Lake Geneva. But if you’re just looking to take a drive, drive here, drive anywhere, just come to Wisconsin. In the summer, the margins of Florida roads look like they do in the winter. Alligators— terrible, terrible alligators. And some garbage blown from open car windows, and some swampy, smelly water. That’s Florida. Unless you’re inland Florida, which is more like a desert plagued by skinny cows, the sorts that look like we should take up an offering and send our Wisconsin missionaries to offer them some aid. These cows are ridiculous, so if you’re driving through Florida today you’ll see alligators and/or skinny, sickly cows. What’s the fun in that? That’s why you should be driving here, down these country roads, past fields and forests and lakes

and rivers. The flowers in my purposeful patch might be amazing, and you’re welcome to drive by, but the sides of every road in this state are now on display. There are white flowers, someone knows what they’re called. Some blue ones, too. Lots of blue ones. Some are pink and some are orange. The clover is blooming, and it’s pink and sometimes red. Other times it might be mostly pink with some white, delicate little flowers that cows munch on because we love our cows so much that we let them eat our beautiful flowers. We have so many, we can spare a few. We live here because we work here. We live here because this is our home. But if we live here and don’t appreciate just how beautiful this place is, then that’s sad. In the Midwest, we all possess some variety of shoulder chip. It’s there, sometimes large and sometimes small. The people in the mountains tell us it’s flat here. The people by the sea tell us the lakes are small. The people in New York don’t know where the Midwest is. And the people in Switzerland sometimes email me because they’ve confused my lake for theirs. The apology for bothering me, little insignificant me with my little insignificant lake, is remarkably humble and overwhelmingly condescending at once. But this place isn’t inferior to all of those places. It isn’t something less. It’s something more. It’s seasons and fields and forests and lakes, and in the middle of a Wisconsin summer, it’s the most beautiful flower display blooming profusely on the sides of our roads. We didn’t plan it that way, we’re just lucky like that.  Originally written July 15th, 2016. The flowers were blooming and I wasn’t afraid to recognize the greatness that is a Wisconsin summer.



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A R C H I T E C T U R E W W W . M I C H A E L - A B R A H A M . C O M

swimming pools These are the rules

I’m old enough to remember when owning a swimming pool was a bad thing. It was a liability, that pool. If a seller had one, the Realtor would exclaim, what a fantastic pool! Then the Realtor would read the expression of the buyer, and if the expression soured and waxed puzzled, the Realtor would tell the buyer that the pool can easily be filled in stone and then what a fantastic patio you’d have! This is how it all used to be. Pools looked cool in photographs but, in person, buyers tended to shy from them, worried about the insurance cost and the maintenance cost and the process of it all. This isn’t how it is today. Today, buyers at Lake Geneva look for pools.  They crave pools. They love them dearly. In fact, I would have sold one of my large lakefront listings several times over had it only possessed a pool. Pools are all the rage now, and if you have one, you’re in luck.   Sadly, not all pools are created equal. If you have a tiny kidney pool like you’re under a lanai in Naples, people won’t love that. But if that pool is large enough, without being too large, and the surrounding patio is high quality and your furniture is just so, then your pool is adding value to your home with every underwater sweep of the cleaning robot’s arm. In this, there is danger. The real danger aside, there is danger in the way this pool can transform your weekend. Pools are great, but they can ruin you and your weekend. They can make your soft children softer, make your weekends less about a lake and more about a pool. They can change everything, and in that there is a warning to heed: Beware the pool, even the lakefront pool, for it can be an instrument for evil. A dear friend of mine is building a pool at his lakefront home as we speak. This pool is nearly complete, nearly ready to be splashed through and cannonballed into. The anticipation is, at this point, 20


nearly unbearable. The pool will be the focus of much love, of some frustration, of horror when the first dead chipmunk is found wedged into the filter. Nearby frogs will at first rejoice, then regret their decision to jump into that chemical bath. The children will frolic in the way that children can. All of this is fine, but vigilance is required if the pool is going to be merely an auxiliary feature and never take the place of the primary feature that is the 5400 acre pool in front of the new pool. But how can we make sure this doesn’t happen? That we don’t soften up our soft children so much that they prefer the chlorinated comfort of a synthetic lake over the real thing? Well, I’m glad you asked. The first thing we must do is incorporate and enforce rules. Country clubs have rules, and if we’re making our lakeside lawn into a similar club then we must initiate and abide by our own set of parameters. First, no swimming in the pool if the lake is reasonably calm, the sun reasonably high, and the water reasonably clear. I will allow pool swimming if the lake is turned up something fierce, like on a holiday weekend afternoon, but that’s it. Otherwise, if it’s sunny and the lake is ready, use the lake. The pool isn’t for those times. The pool is for the month of May. For some of early June. The pool is for late September and October. The pool is for the time of year when the lake is not warm enough for comfortable swimming. This is why the pool exists. The pool is also for the aforementioned periods during the middle of summer when the lake is acting somewhat unruly. These are the only pool rules you need. Don’t use the pool when the lake is better. Don’t use the pool because it’s convenient. It’s also convenient to eat ice cream for lunch every day but even I don’t do that every day. The pool will be easy, and it’ll be tempting, but why are we at the lake? Are we here to hide in the shade of a large umbrella while our kids tip toe around the shallow


side of the pool with Spongebob floaties on? Or are we here to indulge in the lake, to dive from piers, to feel the rush and bask in the nature of it all? I’m not going to answer that question. I shouldn’t have to. 

Originally written June 15th, 2016. Pools are fabulous, but these rules must be followed or you’re going to ruin everything.



Collect Things Making memories is easy

At this age, I have developed many bad habits. I shamefully subscribe to the theory of food discovery that dictates I eat one piece of pizza to find out if it’s good, and then six more pieces to verify. At night, I check my phone before I go to sleep. But I check it all day, too, and then again when I’m thinking about going to sleep, before checking again when I’ve decided that indeed,  yes, I will now go to sleep. Then again when I try to go to sleep, and likely again when I’ve gone to bed but can’t fall asleep. My circadian rhythm sounds like third grade band practice. Last night, when indulging in this last minute phone checking, I saw a little meme on Twitter, perhaps Instagram. These two mediums are useful for different things, but both have become a depository for the sorts of motivational posters that we used to have to visit the mall kiosk to find. Hang In There (kitten with paw outstretched), these sorts of things.  Most of these memes are well intentioned. The one I saw last night said, calmly, Collect Memories, Not Things.  The message was printed over the calm waters of a lake with a pier stretching out into it. It  had a lot of likes, or thumbs up, or smiley faces next to it. People were encouraged. Because that’s right, we should collect memories, not things. I have some things in the back seat of my car right now. They’re just things, these new skis of mine that I bought because it was a Tuesday, and they are in my trunk next to the boot things I bought and the pole things, too. I’ve collected these things, a vast array of them in fact, and they are in my car now hoping for the promised Tuesday snow. I have some things in my other car today. Fishing things. A few fly rods, glittery gold and graphite models, beautiful examples of the artistic expression that is fly fishing. I love them dearly, these things. In fact, in my collection of other things I would place these particular things near the very top. They are among my most important things, and they’re in my fishing truck just waiting for me to use them. Last night 22


when I was cleaning out the back of that truck, I thought to myself, these are some fine things. One thing I bought last summer is too big to keep in a car, or inside the house. It’s in my garage, and it’s black and shiny and I slapped an UFF DA sticker on it to honor my grandmother. I did that because they didn’t have any stickers that said “sleep with your socks off so your feet can breathe”, and who could fit a sticker of that size on a Yamaha jet ski? This thing is in my garage, on a nice little rack that I bought for it. It just sits there now, being a thing, looking at me every day while I look at it. It’s there, ready, waiting for the time that’s coming soon when I might drive that thing to the lake, and fire it up. Collect Memories, Not Things, the image said. The image supposes that the memories we wish to collect are right in front of us, all around us. The memory of a mall visit on a  Saturday is indeed something you can collect, but only if you’re strange and something is wrong with you, or if the visit is memorable for some bad reason, like they were out of Cinnabons. That scenery of the pier jutting into the lake seems so calm, so normal, so every day. But it’s not, and that’s why it’s a special memory. It’s not nothing, it’s something. It just might be everything. And someone had to work very hard to buy that pier so that someone’s family could swim from it, dive from it, lounge on it. My skis have given me access to memories that I could not have otherwise made. I might have been able to ride the ski lift to the top of the hill with my son, but what would we do when we got there if we hadn’t first collected the things that we strap to our feet? And what of those fishing pictures in my office, the ones with my children grinning ear to ear, holding small trout up for the camera to see? How would we have made that journey if not for the waders and the boots and the packs and the flies and those glistening Orvis rods and reels? How

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could I remember the nights last summer when I cruised over the waves to meet friends on their piers if I didn’t have that water rocket with the UFF DA sticker? It’s disingenuous to suggest that things aren’t important. Usually, we must collect the things

that get us to the place where we can then collect the memories. A lake house is among the most precious things, and anyone who already owns one will gladly tell you just how easy it is to collect memories once you’ve collected the house.  Originally written February 29th, 2016. A post about materialism, sure, but it’s all true. SUMMER HOMES FOR CITY PEOPLE


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Lake swims are not optional

I remember the days when I would travel to the country to our north and engage my distant relatives-in-law in debate. I argued once against their odd brand of socialism by using the example of a dozen eggs. I was Milton and the eggs were my pencil.  Without knowing the exact numbers, let’s say at the time a dozen eggs in the United States cost $1.69. At the same time, a dozen eggs in Canada cost $4.19. The US has 320MM people, give or take, while Canada has 35MM people, give or take. Canada, though it seems larger because of the precarious way it looms above us, is roughly the same size as the US. They have lots of chickens. Loads of chickens. The best chickens! But for all their land, all their chickens, and so few people, their eggs were 250% more expensive than ours. I explained to my young cousins-in-law that they were foolish, unwitting socialists, and their government is the reason they are both taxed to death and also have to overpay for eggs. It’s the government standing between them and cheap eggs. But that night, no matter how hard I tried, I could not spark a revolution. That’s because the in-laws were tired. They were weary. It had been a hot day around that backyard deck, and the sun baked and the mosquitoes sucked and the teriyaki steak was overcooked. The lethargy from a summer day had dulled the conversation, and so the revolution could not take hold. Looking back, I can’t blame them. A sultry summer day spent without a backyard oasis of fresh, cool water, is a summer day that would leave me unwilling to overthrow my oppressive, sneakily socialist government that forces higher the prices of my eggs, too. On Wednesday, I took my family to the Cubs game.  I’ve mentioned this before, but as a child I was able to attend a game or two, only if my dad had a chance to get tickets (free, likely) from a neighbor up the road. The tickets were treated as gold, but 26


much more rare. We would load into the car, pick up my grandpa in Arlington Heights, and head to the game. I’m not sure, but I’ll bet we packed a brown bag lunch. Because money was tight, except that it wasn’t, and so we attended games perhaps twice, on the barest of budgets. When I now take my family to a game, I feel as though we are no less of a spectacle. We are most obviously a family from Wisconsin driving down to the big city to watch a game. We are tourists in that city. And when I took the waitress’s advice and ordered the macaroni and cheese pizza, I felt as though I had already been exposed. No local would ever consider such ludicrous order. The waitress had obviously been told to up-sell that pizza because the macaroni and cheese had been sitting in the walk-in for a week or longer, and it needed to go. Oh look, a family from Wisconsin! The game was delightful. Tom Ricketts was all class as he walked the aisles and handed baseballs to the kids, my daughter being one of the lucky ones. The stadium felt better, the grass just as green as it always is, my son curious how they make the lines so straight. Practice, I told him. But the game wore on and the heat suffocated. The breeze was blocked by the grandstands, the smell of spoiled, spilled beer filling the air, the vendors hawking hotdogs and lemon ice. We ordered two of the latter, only to find out we had inadvertently ordered the Extra Tart variety. It was refreshing, nonetheless. Sweat slowly soaked through our clothes. The women next to us drank all of the beer, and by the seventh inning we were ready to stretch. The singer was Some Guy From ESPN That No One Watches Anymore, and so after that we left, secure in our 6-0 lead. When we took the photo below the marquee, it was obvious some of my father’s less annoying habits have seeped into my subconscious. I listened to the last two innings of the game I had tickets for on the radio.

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The fishing truck, as I want to call it, doesn’t have air conditioning. It was built with it, but sometime between 2003 and 2016 the air ceased to blow cold. In that north bound lane, with the sun lowering to the West, I baked in my driver’s seat. The sweat that found me when I left the house at 7:30 am was still with me. The humidity unbearable. In traffic we were approached by a man who looked to be high on most of the drugs, and he asked for a ride in our canoe. I explained to him that we hadn’t a canoe, but we had a boat, if only he’d ride with us 80 or so miles and then we’d go for a ride. I joke, because I’m from Wisconsin and so I pulled out in front of a bus and strained all eight cylinders of our fishing canoe. Even though no one said it, we were all thinking it. We were thinking it from the moment we jumped in the truck that morning. We thought it when we nibbled on the pizza. We thought it again when the snow cones melted into my children’s hands and stained their shorts. We thought it every time the women next to us had to leave the aisle, presumably to grab three more beers ($26.75) and use whatever the women’s version of the trough is.

We thought it when we stood under the marquee when that stranger took our photo. We thought it when we were asked for a ride in our canoe. We thought it again on the interstate. We thought it in Skokie. We thought it in Kenosha. We thought it when first saw the lake. We thought it when we felt the temperature drop as that lake breeze blew through our open truck windows. We knew what we had to do, and so we drove to the lake and we jumped in the water and we found our salvation. We washed the city sins off of us, and with it the stains from our melted snow cones and the stickiness on my arm from when the women sloshed her beer on me. In the summer, in this intolerable heat, there’s just one thing to do. You must get to the lake. You must. A hot summer day that doesn’t end in a swim in crystal clear water might as well be a summer day that didn’t happen. If you don’t want to curl your toes over the edge of a sturdy white pier, you might as well live in Steinbach, Manitoba, and pay $4.19 for a dozen eggs.  Originally written July 22nd, 2016. The heat was intense, the refreshment of an evening swim not just important, but mandatory.



The Summer of Our Lives What. A. Summer.

When it rains now it only rains for some of the day. When the clouds come, they never stay. When the sun warms in the morning it stays warm in the afternoon, into the evening, the moon rises without much mystery. It’s just up there, and we can see it. We needn’t wonder where it is because we can see where it is, hung up there around those stars in that dark sky. The lake blows blue most days. The light pours through my morning windows bright, and it’s early, and when I wake up and I think about the day I don’t really wonder what it’s going to be like, I just know it’s sunny and if it isn’t then, it will be soon. This is the summer of 2016, and it just might be the summer of our lives.

northern pike for him, so that he can see how it all works. He missed a fish off the municipal pier on that last Friday night. The fish rose to his fly and then missed his fly and he was both angered and invigorated at once, but recharged in his purpose nonetheless. He hurried his line back in and up into the air, false forward and false back, enough to feed the line into the cast, enough to let the momentum push that line and carry that fly away from the pier to the spot where the fish had tried, and failed, to eat. That cast sent his fly into the air, his line unattached. He scowled in disgust— he was the most unlucky fisherman in the world. Frustrated tears filled his eyes.

But then again it might not be. If you’re not here and you don’t see this and feel this then what is it about this summer that can make it any different from the summers that came before? What will make it different from the summers yet to come? When my son fly fishes for bass from the piers once the sun has dipped enough to leave the Western piers shaded, how could this matter to you? Do your kids know about this sort of thing? Do they know that later in the day, the sun settles somewhere to the west and once it does the bass decide that they might like something to eat? Do your kids know that when you throw the fly line with your five weight it’s best to double haul with your left hand to speed the line up and soften the delivery? Do they know that a mouse fly is effective even though mice rarely, if ever, fall from piers and into the water? Do they care? Do you care? Does anyone care?

There are certain days when I must leave this town, travel to another town where another pursuit is slowly plodding forward. On those rare days my son rejoices, because without parents near, he can fish all day. Last Friday was to be one of those days, but really just the afternoon, and he knew that with his mother and me out of this town that he could fish, uninterrupted, for the entirety of the afternoon. When we turned around a mere 45 minutes into our trip because of a traffic jam straight out of the most fiery hell, he wasn’t happy to see us. In fact, he walked from one pier to the next, putting distance between his pursuit and us, his pursuers. That’s why I took him to the municipal pier later that evening, to make up for the inconvenience of returning home before I was scheduled.

My son cares, and so he fishes and he double hauls and when he doesn’t think I’m around he grabs a spinning rod because he blames the fly rod when the fish won’t bite. He’s officially the worst fisherman in the world, or so he told me last Friday night. He fishes all day and then some of the night, and when I join him I try so very hard to catch a bass or a 28


My son, today, will fish. He’ll go to the piers and he’ll fish. He’ll look for bass and pike, and when they won’t bite he’ll look for bluegills that will gladly and greedily sip a dry fly presented to the shallows. Later today, I’ll fish with him, if only for a bit, trying to catch something to show him that there’s more life under this surface than he could ever imagine. But imagine he does, and he dreams and he fishes and he spends his days under that sun and on those piers. He wouldn’t have it any other way, because

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he doesn’t know it any other way. It’s the summer of his life, of my life, and we both wonder how someone could ever spend it doing anything else. 

Originally written June 27th, 2016. The summer was young then, but it was perfect, and in case you have forgotten, it stayed perfect.



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Weekend Stretch

A simple trick to make your weekend longer

I have a friend who doesn’t sleep. He goes to bed late and he wakes up early, and if you’ve ever been an insomnia prone neighbor to this habitual undersleeper you’d know that the bedtime is midnight and the waking time is just a few hours later. 4 am. Maybe 3:30. If the sleep is particularly sound and the covers are just right, sleeping in to 4:45 may occur, though this is unlikely. If you were this guy you’d have long days every day, but alas, most of us are not of this nocturnal, tortured persuasion. This is why we need our days to last longer. Yesterday, sometime around 4 pm, I realized that the day felt quite old but was still, as a point of absolute fact, very young. My son turned 12 today, and he likely feels as though at 12 he is getting old. He is getting taller, smarter, and more handsome. I’d argue his paternal genes afford him little other option, but still. Yesterday, while lounging and working under that annoying Canadian wildfire sky, I thought the day seemed as though it might last forever. This morning, it occurred to me that there was a reason for that elongated day, and it wasn’t in the way that smoky haze hung high and pale, nor in the way the sun, ablaze in smoke skewed orange and red, set late into the evening. No, the day felt long to me because of the way it started. If summer is short, which we know it to be, then we should seek out ways to make summer feel longer, even if we cannot force it to actually be longer. Aside from waking at 3:30 as my friend does, there is a way to trick oneself into the belief that you have just lived through a very long, very generous summer day. Knowing the boat traffic patterns of a holiday weekend here does not require some long exposure to the scene. It’s obvious to everyone that the best boating pattern is either early or late. Leave the bulk of the weekend day to the day-trippers and boat renters, those who make the lake a tad more involved than I prefer. Because it makes no sense 32


at all to elongate a day by boating deep into a dark evening, you have already guessed what the most important step is in making a summer day linger: The morning boat ride. This is not to be confused with a morning ski, or a morning fish, though both would be acceptable forms of boating. Yesterday, I woke at a reasonable time. Perhaps 6:30. I am not yet old enough to keep score by the time at which I woke up (I had a full day’s work done before you woke up, the old timers would say). With an average waking time subscribed to, I had a coffee at home. I skipped breakfast because my diet has been experiencing some technical difficulties of late. I sat on my patio for a bit before driving to the Coffee Mill to pick up a coffee for a friend. At the Coffee Mill, the line was long, the participants mostly sluggish from the night before. Coffee in tow, I drove to Wooddale, to my friend’s pier- my friend who has a very nice boat. Within minutes we were plying the waves, talking real estate and taking in the scene. The time was not yet 9 am. We had company on this trip, mostly fishermen in boats too small, and water skiers who fought with waves too big. There were sailors out, a regatta pushing from the Yacht Club to Cedar Point, and back again. Some pleasure boaters were already out, enjoying the softer morning waves that would soon be replaced by bruising midday rollers. We headed East first, then North for much longer, before whipping to the South and cruising slowly back to where we started. At 10:30 am, our boat ride was over. I went to the lake after that, to watch my children swim from the piers and fish for the rockbass that hide in between the slats of soaked and rotting wood that make up the cribs. A seagull landed on the top of our flag pole. We ate some leftovers and after some more time, went home. I flipped through

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the channels for some sporting event of some matter, and found none. Turning my attention back to the outside, I mowed my lawn while my wife harvested snowpeas, strawberries, and raspberries from our garden. My fishing truck was dirty from a late evening session last week, so I cleaned out the shameful remnants of that trip—empty water bottles, some Culver’s wrappings, a mostly eaten bag of chips, and some knotted tippet. Most of the way through mowing, I thought about my wife’s old cell phone. It was white and shiny once, but lately it’s just been dingy and scratched, a condition that belies its ancient age. Thinking about this phone, I finished mowing and drove to Janesville, to the Verizon store, where I explained the need for a newer phone and bemoaned my ever-rising cell phone bill. Later, outfitted with a new phone Mrs, I drove back home. The lawn mower was nearly out of gas, so I strapped two gas cans to the fourwheeler and drove to the gas station. The ATV topped off, the gas cans filled and unfortunately overflowing, I was back home a few minutes later. The patio was dirty, as was the front walk, so I blew them both off, and noticed the bird

feeders were empty, again. Feeders filled, gas tanks filled, patio and walk clean, lawn mowed, new phone secured, I went inside to shower. It was 4 pm. At 8, I decided that we should all go out for ice cream. We chose Culver’s because we are from Wisconsin, and as we drove home with Andes Mint Explosion filled cones, the sun set in a most brilliant red over the corn and soybean fields. The day was finally ending, and what a day it had been. It felt like a day that lasted for two, and as I looked back of the things that I had done and the little I had accomplished, I thought of that morning boat ride that felt like it occurred sometime farther in the past than just that morning. And in that lies the key. Make your summer weekend last longer. Milk it for all it’s worth. Start each day with a morning boat ride, and end Sunday with one, too. You’ll return to work on Monday with the knowledge that your weekend was somehow longer than it was for everyone else. Except for my friend who wakes up at 3:30— his weekend was still longer.  Originally written July 6th, 2015. My client who has become a friend really can’t sleep.




The confinement of discovery

When I first drove to the Driftless, I didn’t know what it was, or where it was, or anything else about it. I knew only what I had been told, which was little, except there were streams and in those streams there were trout. I didn’t know how to catch those trout, how to tie tippet to leader, how to swing a streamer or high stick a nymph or splash a hopper. I didn’t know the names of the roads or the names of the streams. Once the exploration had begun, I would diligently mark my map to remember where I had fished, upstream from X bridge, or downstream “past the pasture fence.” I was so innocent then, so unaware; everything was new. The towns were different; I hadn’t yet figured out they were mostly all the same. The valleys— each one individual—now one is as the other, except a few; those are still different, somehow. The region first seemed so large, so present, so varied and so full. There were valleys to explore, hillsides that I hadn’t seen, towns and villages and old tobacco barns that hadn’t yet fallen over, pushed that way by the wind and the rain. I would follow the map to one stream, fish it, and return home, content but unaware that the next valley over had a stream just like it. I would follow the map to the new spot, fish it, drive home. Each space was new, each valley found me as an explorer, plotting my course, making my notes, searching for boundaries but finding none.  Discovering  things that I never knew to look for. As time passed, the valleys became familiar. The unknown became known. I learned that Jimtown Road was not in Jimtown. I found the streams I like, the ones with rocks and gradient,  as I moved away from the streams filled with sand. I found that 11 inch brown trout with bright orange bellies and dark backs from the rocky headwaters are superior to their silvery brethren who live downstream, down where the water slows and the sand chokes. I taught myself how to cast the fly, how to slink 34


under barbed wire fences, how to never look a bull in the eye. I became familiar with those things that were once new. The excitement of the discovery has worn off, and as I drove home the other day I thought of how small the Driftless really is. How each stream is different but the same. How one barn is like another barn, and one small town is the same as all of the others. The region, once a vast wilderness waiting to be explored, has been reduced to a few streams and a few valleys and a few places. The mystery is gone. My jetski spent September on the shore station and in the water, October on the shore station and only once in the water, and November only on the shore station. The weather has been mild, delicious, yet the jetski sat idle. Winter could be coming soon, but how soon? How can we put away warmer weather things when the weather is still warm? How can we quit when the clock hasn’t even run out? And so the jetski waited, ignored, but with some hope that it might take one last whip. Tuesday was warm,  fifties warm. That’s not warm enough for a wet-suit-less jetski run for most, but for me it was. I had to take the ski out of the water, after all, and if not Tuesday, when?  I hatched a plan to drive the jetski from the shore station to the launch, where a waiting friend would help chauffeur my prized toy to its winter storage spot on the north wall of my attached garage. The water wasn’t as cold as I expected it to be. My legs tingled only a bit as I stood knee deep and coaxed that two stroke engine to life. The key now was to stay upright, to not fall. This isn’t a waverunner that can be passively captained, this is a Superjet that requires balance and throttle. I set out, satisfied that the engine didn’t stall when I applied the gas, and skittered across the still waters of Williams Bay. The sun was up, the time 3:30 pm, the water cold and calm under my water sled.


A few fishermen were out soaking whatever they had tied to the end of their lines. I rode past them, feathering the throttle just so, content in my decision. I circled to Cedar Point and back to the launch, weaving in and out of the buoys that mark summertime rules.  I zipped over the submerged milk jugs that have been tied to the buoy chains. The signs of winter were everywhere even as I let summer have one last fling. The lake, it seemed to me, is the thing that I have known for the longest. I’ve known it since birth, I’ve been on it and in it

and around it nearly every day for my entire life. And yet, on that jetski in the middle of November, I realized I never tire of it. I never find it too familiar. I never think I know it enough to make it feel small. It’s a big lake, after all, bigger than an entire region, bigger than anything else I’ve ever known.  Originally written November 18th, 2016. Less than one week later I would ski at Alpine Valley, becoming the first person in Wisconsin history to jetski and snow ski in the same week.



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Don’t be so afraid of the rain

There’s a front to the north and it’s high and it’s deep and it’s dark and it’s nearly here. I can see it from this window, and I saw it from my car window on the way to this window. I saw it from my house. It’s dark and it’s gray and it’s smooth. It starts in the West and it lasts through the East. The North, that’s where it mostly is. There’s no wind yet, but soon there will be. It’ll push and it’ll bend and when it’s here you’ll know it. Cars drive by, but they’re driving faster than yesterday. Faster than they will tomorrow. They’re driving with their lights on, to somewhere, to a garage or an underpass or the faux safety of a roadside ditch. The storm is coming. It’s dark now and I can hear the rain hitting the top of the metal chimney that carries the winter smoke from my office fireplace. The wind is blowing. And the cars are driving, faster still. It’s a summer storm, and if it’s like the scant few other summer storms we’ve dealt with, it’ll be here and then it’ll be gone, and the old men of the world will look at their rain gauge and tell us it rained a half an inch. Maybe more, maybe less. It’s raining now, but barely. I don’t think we’ll get to a half an inch, maybe a quarter, but I haven’t a rain gauge because the woman at the hardware store told me that I’m not yet old enough to buy one. That I could have someone older purchase one for me, but that’s the best I could do.



It’s still darker to the north but it isn’t raining anymore. Those were just a few drops, not really rain. To rain is to pitter and to patter and to last for more than just a bit. We’ve had bits of rain this summer, full on deluges at times, but what we haven’t had is a day off. A day of dark and rain, a day where it seems completely fine to sit in front of a computer screen and not find distraction out each window. We haven’t had those days during this summer of sun, and how I’ve missed them. A reset is what they offer, and a reset is what we haven’t received. When storms come, they rarely last. They build and they twist and they look like they’re going to deliver a knock out blow, but they hardly ever do. Instead they just come and they shake and they make a mess of the lawn with early fall leaves that have no business falling in August, but fall they do. The wind is dying now. The sky is brightening. The thunder sounds more distant. The cars are still racing with their lights on but I think they might always drive like that. The edge of the storm isn’t smooth anymore, it’s rough and it’s jagged and it looks like it’s lost most of its push. This isn’t a storm at all. This isn’t a rainy day at all, it’s just a summer day with some rain.  Originally written August 19th, 2016. I sat at my desk and watched the storm threaten, and before I stopped writing the storm was over.




It shouldn’t have been this hard

My older brother had, and likely has to this day, the largest Mark Grace baseball card collection ever assembled. I believed the Cubs when they said Jerome Walton was the next greatest thing. That Shawon Dunston was everything. That Ryne Sandberg was the best second baseman, ever.  That Vance Law needed those glasses. I was too young to know the defeat of 1984. I was too naive to know the playoffs of 1998 weren’t going anywhere. I was too excitable in 2003 and bitter in 2007 and 2008. I met Harry Caray in the parking lot of Harpoon Willie’s. He autographed my egg roll receipt from Doc’s and then I promptly lost it. I went to some Cubs games as a kid, but perhaps two, because my dad only took us when someone gave him the tickets. He acted like tickets were only available to the people who knew how to get them, that the tickets were more expensive than anything else. That the tickets were unobtainable for people from Williams Bay. It turns out, the tickets were about $12 and as a huge surprise, the only thing that kept us from summer Cubs games was my father’s unwavering devotion to cheapness, the condition that plagues him to this day and is, at this point, terminal. I took my son to Cubs games, lots of them. But he was too young to care, too fidgety to watch. We’d leave by the 7th and listen to Santo and Hughes call the win, or more likely, call the loss. I sat in the bleachers, dejected, as the Dodgers swept us from the 2008 playoffs. I sat in the upper deck box feeling similarly defeated while the Dodgers whipped us in game two of the NLCS. I stayed away from the 2016 World Series because I couldn’t take the

stress, especially given the added stress of the financial commitment. I stayed home and watched. Game 7, I presume, followed a similar emotional path for most fans. I felt terrific up 5-1, feeling that this was indeed inevitable. Feeling as though I might be let down by a win. Feeling as though I’ve spent 38 years waiting for this, and it would feel strange to wait no longer. At 6-3, I felt less secure, less sure, but still confident. At 6-6 I figured it wasn’t a big deal to lose, because I was still young and this team would be back. It would feel good to languish for a while longer since that’s what I’ve known the longest. There’s something about waiting till next year, because it’s constant and steady, it’s always there, always something to think about and look forward to. There was comfort in all that failure. At 8-6 I felt certain again, and at 8-7 I thought of the crushing defeat that was brewing and determined that I was already over it. Next year would be fine. I hadn’t really waited that long, after all. I can’t say that I cried when they won, because I didn’t. I didn’t think about my dead grandpa who famously was in line at the trough when Andre Dawson hit the only homer during that game we were given free tickets to sometime in the late 1980s. I didn’t  regret turning my back on this team when after they tore my heart out in 2003, 2007, and 2008. I just watched the celebration and smiled and decided that it was time. Time, indeed.  Originally written November 4th, 2016. The wait was over, and I didn’t feel nearly as relieved as I thought I’d feel.



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The calming influence of a simple Fall view

Anxiety is a common affliction in the real estate world. Those not living in this world cannot fathom what might be so difficult about making buckets full of money while doing very little actual work. Those in the industry, and those who were driven from the industry by the anxiety, know this business to be different. My brother works in a factory of sorts. He sits somewhere and punches in some orders onto a computer screen, and then a robot does those things that he’s told it to do. It’s a nice thing to have the robot do that work, and when he drives home at night be doesn’t wonder about what might happen if the robot doesn’t work tomorrow. He doesn’t worry too much that the CFO just found out the new orders from that large new company have been canceled. He just gets up early and goes to work the next morning and sits in his chair and punches in the commands that the robot will follow. The anxiety of real estate is different, and it’s more intense and more troubling than anyone who hasn’t sat in my particular chair could understand. But this particular chair does not own me, and so I sit in it for a while in the morning and then again for a bit in the afternoon. I drive around the lake, I drive down this road and down your road. I look at houses and I look at land and I look at views and I look for what it is that you’re hoping I might find. That traveling seat is far more interesting than this creaky seat that I pull up to this long desk in the morning. That moving seat helps with the stress of a day, and that seat gives me a glimpse of the lake that I’ve seen nearly every day for the entirety of my life. Admittedly, there are views of this lake that I prefer over others. A fall view from the tip of Cedar Point, where Circle Parkway makes its most pronounced curve, that view to the West through the fall trees as they drop a storm of yellow and orange leaves; now that’s a view. It’s different up there. The lake looks different from that height, like something 44


you can see but can’t touch, like something on a horizon that you’ll never catch. You can chase it from up there, and watch the waves from above, where the rise and fall isn’t visible but for the foamy white of the break. Downtown Lake Geneva on an October Tuesday must look different in the minds and imaginations of the summer visitors, those who fill up on summer over a few weekends and then look back to their desks and not to the water again until the next June. But when I see downtown on a Tuesday in October, I know it looks like it should, I know it looks like July with a brighter leaves. I know the breeze blows the same off the lake but it’s cooling now, not warming, and I know the outdoor diners are still dining and they’re still toasting to this place, to this scene, to that view. In the summer when it storms, I can’t know the severity or the angle of the storm until I see it from the shore, over that lake. I know then where it’s coming from, where the wind is blowing, and how bad it might be. I know the clouds and the way they twist and push and form those summer shelves. I can see rain and clouds from these office windows, and from the windows of my house, but I can’t see the detail until I’m looking over the water. It’s impossible to tell just what’s going on without that view. Today, I see the leaves on the trees across the street, and I see the leaves yellowing and falling, more and more each day. Because of this I know it’s fall, and I know the colors are starting, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I won’t be able to know just how widespread these colors are until I’m driving through Williams Bay, past that launch and I look to the south and the east and the west.  Fall can sneak up on you, but not when you’re watching the colors change across the lake. It’s obvious then, and when I saw the Snake Road

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foliage from Big Foot Beach yesterday I knew that fall was no longer waiting. It’s here, and it’s bright and the colors are orange and yellow and red. I know this now because I saw it across that lake. In a life filled with twists and turns and the anxiety that this morning chair brings, that lake and those

views are always there and they’re  always steady and they will always catch my eye.  Originally written October 12th, 2016. The fall colors can sneak up on you, which is why it’s imperative to take the view in from across the lake.




Gloom Both of my grandmothers are now dead. They’ve both been dead for a while. My Grandma May didn’t complain about much, or if she did she didn’t see fit to complain to her grandson. My Grandma Curry on the other hand; she’d complain about anything to anyone. No friend or stranger was safe. She’d complain about her diverticulitis, often. If something served for dinner looked good but she couldn’t eat it, the diverticulitis was to blame. She was feeling fine, except the diverticulitis. She had a swollen arm as a result of a long ago mastectomy, for which she wore a compression sleeve, like Allen Iverson. She would complain about her arm as she swiped at the hanging excess. Her fat arm, she’d say. Everything is fine except for this fat arm and the diverticulitis. And the clouds. She was also pleasant, happy often, happy for several things but mostly, and most audibly, happy for the sunshine. She loved the sunshine. Her diverticulitis could be acting afoul and her fat arm could be swollen  and her compression sleeve pinching, but if the sun were shining then things were just fine. Winter days as cold as they can be were never a concern if the sun was shining. Summer days, no matter how hot, no matter how humid, if sunny they were enthusiastically embraced. On the other hand, if the diverticulitis was in momentary remission and her fat arm wasn’t swollen  and her compression sleeve was resting comfortably on the dresser top, and these conditions were accompanied by cloudy skies, then a “How are you, grandma?” was met with a routine and orchestrated, “Well, I’m okay I guess. I just wish the sun would come out.” You cannot fault an old woman for loving the sun. Which means I will give my dead grandmother a pass for hanging her mood on the condition of the sky, but I will not give anyone else a pass. Sunday was a mostly gloomy day at the lake. It was gloomy in the morning and it was misting a bit in the

afternoon, and later, after it cracked a tease of sun for a few moments, it was gloomy again. The sun set mostly gloomy, without show or reflection. Night fell and late into the night while we hoped the Cubs would find some conviction, it was gloomy even as our moods lifted. Yes, Sunday was like that, as were days earlier in the week, and days the week before, and this week, though it looks as though it might be sunny more than not, it’ll be gloomy at times and I, for one, love it. I don’t love the gloom much in July, as July is for sun and for blues and for pastel clothing and deep green trees. But now, at this late date, the fields have gone from green to gold and now to brown and tan, gray and silver. Life is fading from these fields and from these trees, and while the show will go on for several more weeks, I don’t feel the need to cling to the brightness of mid summer or the intrigue of mid fall. Now I only wish for the quiet gloom of November. I recognize I’m relatively alone in this opinion. But why should I be? Why should we be as my grandmother and live only for the sunny days? What’s so wrong about a gloomy Sunday where the fire is flickering and the curtains are drawn? What’s so difficult about the gray skies and the brown fields and the way an 8 point buck cruises through the tall, dull grass? Why must we complain so much about the transition? After all, it’s the transition that keeps us sharp. It’s the in between days filled with clouds and drizzle that harden us to the coming cold. It’s the gloom of November that makes the light of summer matter.  So this week and next month,   when the gloom returns, just embrace it and be thankful that your fat arm hasn’t swelled and your diverticulitis isn’t acting up.  Originally written October 31st, 2016. I grow weary of people whining about the weather, even though I still do it more than I should.




Designing Quality Custom Homes for Over 30 years! RusseLl J. DePietro, Architect

262.728.9300 Licensed in Wisconsin & Illinois


High above the west end of Geneva Lake you’ll find this picture perfect two bedroom lakefront penthouse. Lots of lakefront condos have great views, but these views are so very much better than those views. From Fontana’s downtown all the way beyond Cedar and Black Points, this view is the absolute best. Like new construction, with two bedrooms, a gas fireplace, access to a private lakefront pier, available buoy, shared lakeside patio with grills, and plenty of parking. Turn key offering for immediate weekend fun. $399,000

If tiny cottages on tiny lots don’t turn you on, perhaps this large home on a one acre lot in highly desirable Ara Glen will. This updated home features an outstanding great room, two fireplaces, two kitchens, five bedrooms, heated garage, and ample outdoor space on both decks and patios. Large driveway for overflow parking, spacious lawn, and that short golf cart ride to the impressive Ara Glen lakefront where your transferable, deepwater boatslip awaits. $795,000

This is, perhaps without a single doubt, one of the most charming cottages you’ll ever lay eyes on. This Lake Geneva Club home features four bedrooms, two baths, a large double lot, and deep water, fully transferable, boat slip. Original hardwood floors, stone fireplace, screened porch and more. Enjoy your weekends here with access to the wonderful lakefront park and the private association tennis court. This is everything you could want in a Lake Geneva vacation home. $609,000

Remarkably rare offering in super exclusive East Loramoor. There are just four properties that belong to this association, each with a fully transferable boat slip on the canopied pier. This lot is large, level, and has views of Geneva Lake. Build your dream home here, just one lot off the water close to both downtown Lake Geneva and the Lake Geneva Yacht Club. $750,000

David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993



SOLD LAKEFRONT LISTINGS With an improving market comes a heavy tide of new agents and new brokers. They have new offices, shiny ones, with splashy ads featuring the finest stock photography. The thing is, there’s only one Lake Geneva broker that’s focused so narrowly on the Lake Geneva lakefront market. The properties below represent the lakefronts sold by David Curry since the start of 2010. It’s a humbling total, and one that we’re proud to share with you. There are plenty of other local brokers that would love to represent you in your search to buy or sell lakefront property on Geneva Lake, and in that, we have company. But when you review the results below, you’ll see we have very little competition.

W3298 Park Drive Linn $1,200,000

6 Upper Loch Vista Drive Williams Bay $1,610,000

Lot 7 Loramoor Linn $2,075,000 (2016)

976 S Lakefront Drive Fontana $3,300,000 (2016)

66 Oak Birch Williams Bay $1,225,000

N2280 Folly Lane Linn $1,650,000

N1595 East Lakeside Lane Linn $2,150,000

N1621 East Lakeside Lane Linn $3,575,000

7 Dartmouth Road, Williams Bay $1,225,000

1599 East Lakeside Lane Linn $1,725,000

412 Harvard Avenue Fontana $2,269,000

1100C South Lakeshore Dr. Fontana $3,700,000

W4160 Lakeview Road Linn $1,260,000

1588 North Lakeside Lane Linn $1,800,000

556 Sauk Trail Fontana $1,313,000

60 Oak Birch Williams Bay $1,810,000

N2201 Bonnie Brae Lane Linn $2,650,000

W3818 Lackey Lane Linn $4,275,000

1540 Lakeshore Drive Lake Geneva $1,335,000

W3846 Lackey Lane Linn $1,910,000

N1592 Lakeside Lane Linn $2,750,000

W3821 Creek Lane Linn $5,195,000

N1611 Shadow Lane Linn $1,400,000

W3852 Lackey Lane Linn $1,925,000

507 North Lakeshore Fontana $2,850,000

1014 South Lakeshore Drive Fontana $5,885,000

190 Circle Parkway Williams Bay $1,440,000

W4190 Southland Road Linn $1,925,000

976 South Lakeshore Fontana $2,950,000

700 South Lakeshore Drive Lake Geneva $5,900,000

N1546 Forest Hills Court Linn $1,450,000

N2319 Geneva Oaks Trail Linn $1,925,000

2224 North Bonnie Brae Linn $3,005,000

880 South Lakeshore Drive 1RL Lake Geneva $5,995,000

274 Sylvan Lane Fontana $1,495,000

W2904 Hollybush Drive Linn $2,000,000

1554 North Oak Shores Linn $3,100,000

1014 South Lakeshore Drive Fontana $7,350,000 (2016)

1530 North Lakeshore Drive Lake Geneva $1,530,000

Lot 7 Loramoor Linn $2,000,000

N1878 Black Point Drive Linn $3,250,000

W4449 North Lake Shore Drive Linn $9,950,000

1100E South Lakeshore Drive W4437 North Lakeshore Drive Fontana Linn $2,475,000 $3,930,000



7 1 0 2 Y A M SOLD


PIER 882

There are homes that you know. Stone Manor. You know this place. You know the Driehaus property and the Wrigley cottages. You know where the Pritzker’s live at their Casa. You know lots of houses, and you know this house, too. It’s big and it’s white and it’s by Stone Manor and if you’ve walked the shore path, well then you know it. There’s nothing wrong with knowing houses, because we all know them and we all pride ourselves on that knowledge. It’s hard for me to break this to you, but I know more houses than you. And I know this house, because I’ve been in it and I’ve seen it and it’s been for sale before. That’s why I’m not going to introduce this house to you today as a house that you don’t know. I’m introducing it to you as a house that you already know, but you likely don’t understand. To be fair, I didn’t understand it either. It’s a huge house, massive, really. Too big for many, but likely too small for some. The lot is big, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s just under 4 acres, with 160’ of frontage, so it’s large enough to be estate sized but



not so large that you’re left wondering what to do with all that land. It’s close to town, so close you can walk there without first considering your footwear, but not so close that you hear the busy hum of the tourist choir. It’s private. Exceedingly so. Terrifically so. Yet it’s close. The sun sets in the West, this we know, and this house faces west, this we still know. The pool is lakeside, facing west, which is how a photograph like the one above can happen. The thing is, it’s not a rare picture. It’s not hard to take or hard to time. You just need spend any old evening at this house and wait for the shadows to grow long and the sun to dip over that western shore. 700 South Lakeshore doesn’t have to try very hard to be unique, it just is. But of the house, past the gate and past the tennis court and not yet to the pool and the pier, the house. It’s a big house, big enough. It was built in 1996, and judging from my Senior Year yearbook the style in 1996 wasn’t exactly what you see today. The house is somewhat dated, with cherry where there would now be oak, and tile where there would now be marble. The thing about this house is that someone could buy it today and move in tomorrow and be remarkably happy. Or, someone could buy it today and do a surface remodel tomorrow and by next summer they’d be even happier. Would you rather remodel an old house, or a newer house? The question is as most of the questions here, not specifically meant to be answered. This is a special property in a special location, and I know it now more than I ever did before. I know it because I spent three hours at the house last week with the videographer. I sat on the covered porches, which are among the finest covered porches on this entire lake. I lounged on the poolside chairs, delighting in a pool that faces the lake in such an unavoidable way. I thought about how that walk into town is so short, so easy, and how the pier is sturdy and white and the landscaping a mirror of perfection. I thought of the gate and the tennis and the densely wooded grounds, and how the privacy was equal to the privacy I might find off some skinny drive in some middle section of Linn Township. And then I thought about this house, how I thought I knew what it was all about but that I really had no clue. $6.495MM

David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993




639 Kenosha Street - Walworth across from Sentry Foods


W2998 S. LAKESHORE DR, LINN One of the terrific things about private frontage is that every variety of private frontage is generally good. Now, there are good spots and bad spots, but even the bad spots on Geneva are better than the good spots everywhere else, so that’s nuanced. The other thing about private frontage is that it’s varied. Some lots are wide, others narrow, some deep others shallow. There is no pattern to the frontage until we confine certain types of properties into segments. If we’re talking entry level lakefront homes, we’re talking about smaller lots (60’ or less) and we’re talking about neighbors. Lots of neighbors. Now consider this fun listing on South Lakeshore Drive. It’s a five bedroom modern house that’s rather nicely updated with new bathrooms and a very flexible layout. It has a slip on a pier that is shared by only seven total owners, and this house functions as the lakefront house in the association. But that’s not what’s especially rare here. Consider the proximity to the neighbors, and the quality of the neighbors. To the East, Casa Del Sueno, to the West, a fabulous newer build on a massive lakefront lot. This is a setting that is, quite literally, unavailable to any other entry level home anywhere on this lake. It’s special. If you like privacy and you like the woods, and you like that privacy and those woods to be on the lake, then this property is for you. $1.295MM

PIER 777 David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993 SUMMER HOMES FOR CITY PEOPLE




946 MARIANNE TERRACE, LG This lakefront home isn’t going to require much of you. It was built in 2008, and it’s been maintained beautifully by the same family ever since. Fresh to market this summer, this five bedroom lakefront has the sorts of new-home amenities that you’d expect. There’s a wonderfully open floor plan with a two-story great room that opens onto a spacious lakeside deck. There’s a loft upstairs along with three additional bedrooms, and there’s a finished lower level that walks out to the lakefront lawn. You’ll find two fireplaces, a heated two car garage,  and plenty of room for the whole family. Enjoy this western exposure for long lake views, sunsets, and full afternoon sun. Lounge on your sturdy private pier with canopied slip, and walk to town from this Lake Geneva location. Newer construction isn’t easy to find on the lake, unless, of course, you’ll come look at this home with me. $2.195MM

PIER 869 David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993




PIER 545

There was nothing like it in 2002 just as there is nothing like it in 2017. A lakefront community engineered to attract high end buyers, in a high end setting, on this, our high end lake. It was a fresh take on lakefront living, combining the traditional layout of the Congress Club, albeit on a much more impressive scale, with the sheer size and quality of a true lakefront estate. The South Shore Club might have been a bit before its time in 2002, but by 2013 its time had come. The market saw this development and recognized just how special it was. Buyers who might otherwise buy a $3MM piece of dirt on Geneva were instead inclined towards buying a $3MM house with all of these rich amenities and so much style. Today, a blast from this short-term past. The Original Vacation House, or so it was then called, was built by Orren Pickell to encompass all of the best that the South Shore Club could muster. The lot was special, set into the woods on that East side, but still prominent and capable of delivering a unique lake view. The style was lighter, brighter, more intricate, more involved, and



as time wore on there was one house that kept looking new and ideal. It was this house, the Vacation House, the house that had all of the toys and all of the upgrades. The house was sold originally as a spec home, and enjoyed from that day until this day by the current owner. Alas, the property has run its course and the family has decided the time to move on has arrived. Today, I offer you the Original Vacation House, as wonderful now as it ever was then. But it’s better now than it was then. The market has enjoyed consistent sales over the last five years, and so the faith that the initial buyer displayed way back in 2002 is no longer required of a new buyer. It’s just a beautiful house and fits the market, and it fits the style and it’s ready to be sold. The home has been lovingly maintained, and as the construction on either side of it is complete, there will be no disruption to the new buyer’s summer caused by backhoes or nail guns. The finishes as what you’d expect, with Wood-Mode cabinetry, Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, Rohl fixtures, Lutron whole-house control, and more. The South Shore Club is complete, it’s functioning as it was intended, and it offers a lakefront buyer a luxurious retreat at a fraction of what such a home would cost on private frontage. That’s really what the South Shore Club is about, by the way. It’s not about an association home with association home amenities. These homes were built and the association was designed to stack up against private frontage competition. If you have $2.995MM to spend on a lake house, you cannot buy anything of any reasonable scale or quality possessing a good amount of private frontage. To put it another way, this new listing around $3MM, if given a 1.5 acre lot and 100’ worth of frontage, would easily sell in the $5.5-6MM range today. You’re not paying lakefront prices for a South Shore Club home, you’re paying a discount to that cost and you’re achieving a much easier vacation home experience. What’s easier? Well, all of it. Boats are included, no need to buy, maintain, and depreciate your own. The pool is there, included, a lifeguard as well. The tennis is there, ready, green with clay and ready for you. The lawns are maintained, the snow is plowed, and in the winter, if we have a winter with some normalcy, there’s an ice rink, too. The South Shore Club doesn’t just give you a lakefront experience, it gives you that experience at a discount, and it allows you, the owner, a much more convenient and leisurely weekend experience. $2.995MM

David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993





504 Nathan Lane • Elkhorn, WI 53121


OVER 30 YEARS of POWERful solutions LED Lighting • residential • Commercial • Industrial • Agricultural Electrical Services




PIER 445

There’s just something about this house. This house, pure and simple, is absolutely perfect. There are homes with fine appointments, where the superb tastes of the owners are on display from room to room, but rarely is a home as complete and thoroughly charming as this nearly-new vacation home. There is Plato cabinetry and cut-granite masonry fireplaces, there is a living room that opens to a dining room that opens to the intentionally oversized kitchen (Wolf and Sub-Zero), which all open onto the covered and screened lakeside porches. If you’re looking for proximity to the water, there is nothing but a few feet of grassy lawn that runs between your lake house and your private pier.



The lakefront at Glenwood Springs is unique in that the lakefront homes in this classic association actually front on the 1800’ of common association park frontage that runs the length of the lakefront boundaries. The owners still have piers but their homes open onto a huge grassy swatch that runs narrowly along the lakefront. This park setting creates ample opportunities for children and adults alike, as kids can readily run and play all across the lakefront lawn, instead of being narrowly hemmed in by a hedge-rowed 50’ lakefront lot where playing catch with your son disintegrates quickly into a foray through your neighbor’s Hydrangeas in search of that little white ball. This custom designed home (Jason Bernard, Architect) features four bedrooms, each with their own supremely appointed bathroom. The walls are paneled, as in classical lakefront homes from another century, and the home has been finished with the most refined fit and finish. The private den, anchored by a magnificent granite fireplace would make a perfect office for those unable, or unwilling, to leave their work in a zip code commencing with a six. The finished lower level features a large exercise room, full bath (there are six full baths here) and a play room that makes for a perfect spot to stash kids or unruly adults. Perhaps best of all, there is a sand beach not more than 400’ from this lakefront home, so the incessant cries for a beach are finally satiated by this sandy oasis just down the shore path. Equally important is the fun location in Fontana, where a walk to Gordy’s or Chuck’s might take all of 7 minutes, in sandals. $3.2MM

David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993



R I V E R VA L L E Y R A N C H family owned since 1976

39900 W. 60th Street | Burlington, WI 53105 “Celebrating Our 41st Year”

Open 7 Days A Week (262) 539-3555

WORLD CLASS EQUESTRIAN RETREAT If you’ve never looked for a large swath of available land in Southern Wisconsin, then it would be impossible for you to understand just how rare this offering truly is. West of Walworth a world renowned physician spent decades assembling this sportsman’s paradise. A passion for Peruvian horses and a desire to create a first class equestrian facility fueled this remarkable effort, and today this amazing estate is for sale. While the property must be toured to be fully understood (watch the video on our homepage), you can see from these photographs that this is not your normal Wisconsin equestrian property. This is a retreat for any outdoor enthusiast. 



Here we have more than 278 acres of contiguous farmland, woodlands, and pasture; with a flowing stream winding through it all. The house is large and upgraded, the grounds immaculate. There’s a pool and tennis court, a guest cabin and more. The horse facilities themselves are among the finest you’ve ever seen, complete with indoor riding area, conditioned stables, office space for facility managers, and a pastures galore. Dry Creek flows through this property and divides the woodlands from the pasture, creating wildlife habitat that has been undisturbed for decades. Hunters will enjoy the upland fields and heavily wooded hillsides. Trails are cut through much of this property for horse riding or perhaps just UTV riding.  If you’ve been looking for the ultimate Wisconsin retreat that can offer you a little of everything, this is it. If you’ve been looking for a first class equestrian property less than 90 minutes from Chicago, well you’ve found that, too. $2.999MM

David C. Curry, GRI 262.745.1993






All New

Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Colorado

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Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Ram 1500

GMC Yukon Denali

Buick Enclave

GMC Sierra















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2016 LAKEFRONT SALES Between May 2016 and May 2017, there have been five Geneva lakefront sales over $5MM. Of those five, David Curry sold four of them. If you’re a buyer or seller and you’d like help understanding the heavily nuanced upper bracket on Geneva Lake, there’s no agent who can boast that level of segment specific success.


SOLD $9,950,000

PIER 507

SOLD $7,350,000

PIER 880

SOLD $5,995,000

Having built a home in Lake Geneva 5 years ago, my family and I decided it was time to explore the possibility of moving onto the lake. Having never receiving a return phone call from our former broker, we decided to take action into our own hands. We researched on line and set an appointment at a house we believed had potential. That house wasn’t for us but we did meet Dave Curry. He listened to us, understood what kind of house we wanted, educated us on the market and appreciated our time schedule.  Within a few months, we bought a beautiful lot on the lake and plan to build this summer. Dave was helpful, thoughtful, patient and has become a good friend with honest advice. “

John and Sarah, Chicago

In 2013, after 25 years in a lake access association, David Curry helped my wife Kathy and I purchase our first true Geneva lakefront home. He quickly sold our family’s association home and we enjoyed 3 years of lakefront bliss. Last year, with the help of David, we pursued and purchased a beautiful property on which to build our dream retirement home. Though the thought of concurrently owning two lakefront homes was daunting, David’s expertise in managing our previous purchase and sale gave us the confidence to take the leap. In a few short weeks David sold our home, and we just as quickly thereafter started our new home construction. As a testament to David’s presence on Geneva Lake, our new small street has seen 2 other lakefront homes purchased in the last 12 months, and David sold both of them.  Every single property around Geneva Lake is unique, and having worked with David for the last five years I can attest that he knows every street, every association, and literally every home in the lakefront/lake access market. His intimate knowledge of this market allows him to navigate its many complexities, but I believe his lifelong love and passion for Geneva Lake is what truly differentiates him and drives him to consistently be the lake’s top producing agent. As such, I would never consider anyone else for my Geneva Lake real estate needs.”

Jim and Kathy, Barrington

Dave and his staff at Geneva Lakefront Realty are a pleasure to work with. Dave is very knowledgeable especially with the high-end market, and provides excellent advice for anyone on either side of the real estate transaction. He is always a step ahead of the competition.”

Nick and Deb, Naples

David did a fantastic job in helping us find our lakefront home. His knowledge of Lake Geneva lake front nuances is unique and of tremendous value to his clients. Being new to the market, he advised against numerous offers until a property was available that made sense for our family and represented long term value. In retrospect, we can appreciate just how right his advice was.  There is a reason that David is regarded as the premier agent in the Lake Geneva market. Knowledgeable, honest and hands down the most fun realtor you can work with.”

Ryan and Tonya, Elgin


Dogs….get ready for summer fun!

Some summer safety suggestions for your pets!

32 W Geneva St, Williams Bay, WI 53191


• Be on the lookout for Blue-Green Algae • • • • • •

in lakes, ponds & other water. Protect your dog from fleas, ticks & even mosquitos- ask your vet when to start & stop treatment. Do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. Keep your dog hydrated & shaded. Dogs can get sunburned! Avoid overexposure or ask your vet about sunscreen for dogs. Keep your pet leashed in public areas. Be knowledgeable of your dog’s swimming skills & use a life jacket if necessary.

Experience entertaining events throughout the summer in a breathtaking, open-air setting on Geneva Lake.




Ask about our

We GUARANTEE you can fly with instruction from our certified instructors or we will refund your paid lesson and flight.


membership where you get an hour of training per week to hone your skills all summer long!

Experience the thrill of Hydroflight! Operating by Appointment at Pier 290. We are also available for private bookings at your pier, association, or boat. Birthday, Holiday, Bachelor/Bachelorette, and Association Parties.


or schedule an appointment at our website

We have updated our name and logo, because Lowell Management does much more than manage.

We build your dreams‌ 262.245.9030 401 Geneva National Ave. South, Lake Geneva, WI

“Perserve and advocate for Walworth Couty waterways, natural areas and working lands.” GLC is tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and recognized land trust. 2017 SUSTAINING SPONSORS

Carol Bernick Jeff & Molly Keller

overlooking scenic williams bay just minutes from lake geneva

Join us for

Ice Cold Beer • Signature Cocktails Blood Mary’s • Homemade Pizzas Char-broiled Burgers • Onsite Smoke House Items

Enjoy our screened in porch during the summer season!

Bergersen Boat Co.




1953 27' Shepherd "2016 Captain's Choice Award" Winner Currently For Sale

Specializing in the repair, restoration, and custom building of classic wooden boats

More boats For Sale on our NEW website

7163 Commercial St. Springfield, WI 53176 Ph:262-245-6623





Profile for Geneva Lakefront Realty

Summer Homes For City People 2017  

The 2017 issue of Summer Homes For City People, the most unique real estate magazine ever published. Seriously.

Summer Homes For City People 2017  

The 2017 issue of Summer Homes For City People, the most unique real estate magazine ever published. Seriously.