Lake Desire, Minnesota is a quiet, peaceful little town nestled in the northern part of the 32nd state of the Union.
If you are just passing through, or stopping by for a day of fishing, and need a meal, there's the Sportsman's Cafe to sate your appetite. Just be warned that breakfast is the busiest time there, and if Cherie, the only waitress employed full-time by owner Jack Hanson, gives you the wrong order, cut her some slack since Jack has a habit of ragging on her mercilessly from behind the counter.
Need gas? There’s Ernie Brown's gas station to fill your tank at. By the way, Ernie has a "Walk of Fame" inside his station with Polaroid’s of every customer who bought gas there up on it. If he asks you if you'd like to be on it, why not say yes, because maybe one day you will come by with your kids or grandkids and can proudly point yourself out.
Just want a beer or some harder type of booze? There’s the Lunker Lodge, where you can quench your thirst and chat with owner Barney Whitmore. A Korean veteran who is the only man in town who can understand the demons local Vietnam vet Brett Newstead battles every day.
Need bait, tackle, or some other fishing gear? Or shot a deer whose head you would like mounted? Father-and-son duo Arnold and Martin Ravenwood at Ravenwood's Bait Shop and Taxidermy Studio can help you out (If you visit, take a gander at the marker board Martin has up that lists, in one column "Number of days fished" and on the other "Minnesota State Record", which is 978. Martin plans to achieve that, my friends.
Want to buy a book? Stella Holmstead's shop Forgotten Memories can take care of that. Heck, you can even get a tattoo in Lake Desire, because Bear and Earl at Desire Tattoos By Bear and Earl give you one (or another, if your theme song is Weird Al Yankovic’s “Another Tattoo) and by the way, Bear is also an aspiring writer and poet, so don’t let the tattoo shop fool you into thinking he’s just a punk who has grown old.
Then there’s the lake itself, a prime fishing spot when the season is here. If you are up there casting your line, keep an eye out for the twin brothers Steven and their girlfriend Annie. They are a young dreamer trio who intend to pursue their dream of leaving a monument behind to mark their existence in this world. How do you tell which Steven is which? One is "Stee", the other is "Ven.” And dig that snowmobile they can drive all year long thanks to Stee and Ven’s Yankee ingenuity!
If you run into any trouble in this area, you can go to Sheriff Dwyane Walker for help but cut his new deputy Eddie Brewster a little slack if he seems a bit too eager to prove himself. He is filling some big shoes because Brett Newstead used to be Dwyane's deputy until he lost his job due to the alcohol Brett uses to fight his demons from Vietnam.
All in all, Lake Desire is quite a nice place to stop at if you are coming or going from Two Harbors, Duluth, Branierd, Mille Lacs, or Fargo. It is no idle paradise, though because one of Lake Desire's most beloved residents, Arnold Ravenwood’s wife Ellen, died three months ago in a tragic boating accident on Desire’s water, leaving not only her friends and family but the entire town with a deep sense of loss.
How will they not only find healing, but rediscover themselves in the process? And just who is that mysterious woman hanging around town looking on at the daily scene?
Let Dav Kaufman show you in his marvelous debut novel based on a screenplay he wrote and wishes to film one day.
His style is a superb blend of humanity, compassion, and a keen knowledge of the human soul. His prose also deftly captures the glorious beauty of northern Minnesota, a beauty I’ve experienced myself several times.
If you are looking for a read both cozy and profound, this is a book for you.