By John Matonich
Steph and I took a ride this past Sunday. It was a nice day and I wanted to check out a few roads I hadn’t been down in a long time and I thought it would be great to have some “us” time as well. We were in a rural part of the county on some gravel roads that wound through the forest and near a bunch of lakes. In my area, you can’t travel too far without seeing a sign for a camp or cottage. I always enjoy reading them because many are very unique and can make you wonder about the story behind them.
As we made our way along, I saw a sign that simply said, “Camp Mamma Mia.” I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that perhaps nationality fits in there somehow. It reminded me of a camp not too far from the camp I deer hunt out of. This camp is called “Camp Red Sauce..” Now, you may easily equate this to an Italian connection, but more importantly it is a Sicilian connection as that is where red sauce originated. Northern Italy pretty much was known for white sauce. Another camp in the area is “Camp Croatia.” Being Croatian, I am kind of partial to that name.
Sometimes camp names have the owner’s name as part of it. One I see regularly when traveling past Marquette on M-28 says “UP at Neun.” Lots of different things come to mind and I think it is a very clever name. A name can also tell a little about the area the camp or cottage is at. Another I see often near Lake Superior is “Superior Reflections.”.Again, a nice play on words.
Near our deer camp is the “Rocky Creek” camp which has a nice creek running alongside it. Down the road a bit from there is the “Husbands Hideaway.” I guess that one is pretty self-explanatory. Farther down the road is the “Water Buffalo Lodge,” which any Flintstone fan would understand right away. My youngest brother named his camp the “Soggy Bottom Lodge.” The camp sits right on the edge of a pretty major swamp, so I think he did a good job with the name.
Some friends of mine in the next county over belong to the “Dirty Dozen” camp. This name was selected by the original 12 owners who started the camp over 50 years ago. A number of family members of the owners are still part of the camp and it is a good group who hold their history is high esteem.
Unfortunately, the camp I belong to doesn’t have a name. The camp was built by and belongs to my next youngest brother. I appreciate being a part of the camp and can live with it not having a name. We talk about it every now and again, but nothing hits the mark. The camp he replaced when he built the current one was in pretty tough shape, so “Camp Scurvy” has been suggested a few times by others, but thankfully hasn’t got any traction at the current camp.
Who knows, maybe someday a name will come up that my brother likes and we will no longer simply be “Pete’s Camp.” I know we can be more creative than that and will need to be since “Taj Ma Hall” has already been taken.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: PJ Nelson (Note: the camp depicted is NOT John’s camp.)