I spent last weekend at a cabin at a lake with a trio of 11-year-old boys. It was everything you’re imagining: wild, energetic, boisterous, rowdy and splashtastic. Somewhere along the way I made a discovery – other than the fact that three 11-year-olds can generate more damp towels than a Bounty commercial. I have decided being 11, during the summer, at the lake, with a couple of friends by your side is one of the best places a person could ever hope to be.
Eleven is the perfect age because you are old enough to fish off the dock without your mom having to be right there supervising to make sure you don’t spill the worms or stick yourself with a hook – although she understands both are a distinct possibility.
You can jump off the dock and touch bottom without having your head go under the water and you no longer have to wear your life vest 24/7 like you did when you were a little kid.
You are old enough to catch things – frogs, baseballs, crawfish, frisbees and poison ivy – and know, with certainty, when you make a wish on the first star of the night your dreams really will come true. Star light, star bright…
During a weekend at the cabin, mealtimes and bedtimes are all but forgotten. It’s a time to stay out late, sleep in and jump in. Eating is often done on the run out in the sun because there are so many other fun things to fit into the day. On the hottest days, popsicles can constitute lunch.
At 11, you’ve mastered the art of roasting marshmallows over a fire, but maintain the ability to appreciate the white gooey balls straight out of the bag. This supreme flexibility is something most adults can’t even imagine, much less attain.