a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Summers at Madden’s

Aerial view of Madden's Resort, from maddens.com

Aerial view of Madden’s Resort, from maddens.com

< by Jill >

“Madden’s Resort in Brainerd MN is not just one of many Minnesota resorts, it is Minnesota’s Classic Resort,” according to the marketing department of Madden’s Resort.

They’re sort of right — for many years, Madden’s was not just one of many vacation spots for the Klosterman family, it was The Vacation Spot.

Each summer, we’d load up the wagon and head north, exiting the burbs and entering the northern wild. Upon arrival, we’d check in at the main lodge and then locate our new digs, typically a whitewashed upscale cabin.

Of all the things I remember about Madden’s, this comes to mind first: The carpet. It was a forest green with a dense, knotted pile. It smelled like glue, and as a glue-sniffer, I liked that.

I spent hours and hours on that carpet, laying on my belly, acting out fashion shows with my Treasure Trolls.

To be fair to Madden’s marketing department, there was more to love. Here are a few other recollections:

• The breakfast hall had a juice buffet. Dozens of carafes stood neck-deep in icewater, brimming with cranberry, orange, apple, and — king of all juices — pineapple. For a brief moment in childhood, I forgot all about Capri Sun.

• I caught a catfish at Madden’s. I had been sitting at the end of the dock, plopping my line into the shallows and watching sunnies nip away at the bait. Then, out of nowhere, a thick black body slithered into view and swallowed the hook. After a bit of struggle, I reeled it in. I was horrified—it had thick whiskers and black, wild eyes.

• One year, we wrote a letter to a future tenant and hid it in the ceiling. I think about that letter from time to time. Is it still there? Did someone find it? And if we returned and unearthed it, what would we find? I sure hope we recommended the pineapple juice.

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