Thursday, June 03, 2010

The cabin

When the weather starts getting warm, my senses kick in. Memories weave their way back into my mind and remind me of things that used to be so exciting and adventurous. Granted, my concept of adventure usually meant swinging really high on a swing and jumping or venturing out on my paddle boat a little further from the cabin so I could fish or test my separation boundaries.

We used to go to a cabin on a lake that seemed absolutely enormous--not the cabin but the lake. It probably isn't as big as what is seen through a child's eyes but it's still a large lake. It's a place I often dream of--literally. I learned how to waterski, learned how to fish, learned how to swim, learned how to be patient and mostly how to relish the beauty that surrounds me everyday.

The cabin was nothing to brag about. There was an outhouse, the only water we had was that which was pumped from the lake. If we wanted to bathe we had to do so in the lake which was less than fun when we'd spend three weeks there for my dad's long vacations. If we wanted hot water we had to boil was very rustic and had that musty odor to it.

My father spent many hours fixing that place up...building decks and docks, painting, cutting down trees, repairing this or that and at the end of the day we might get to go fishing or water skiing depending on how my dad was feeling. I remember how he'd rid the peaks of the big bee hives. The peak meaning the area where the roofs met one another. He would wrap a rag around a big long stick, douse it in gasoline, start it on fire and burn the worked like a charm. I even remember my father barbequing which if you knew my father he was not that kind of person....he expected dinner on the table every night. But we had some photos of him with an apron on, a bandanna or hat on, and a hot mitt with his checkered shorts, white socks, black shoes, and no shirt...what a sight! LOL

My mom was always the one strapped with the chore of cleaning the fish...I never realized what an awful chore that was when I was so young so I was usually the one catching dinner for the night and darn proud of that fact. She never really let on that she hated doing that until I was old enough to learn how to clean fish. Together her and I would scale the fish, we'd cut the heads and fins off, throw the remains in newspaper and the meat in a bowl of water and move on to the next. Afterward we'd go back into the woods with a shovel and bury the remains of the fish deep so the critters wouldn't come and get them. There wasn't a garbage service there; we usually had to bring the garbage to a dumpster somewhere down the road when we would leave for the weekend so having those remnants laying around wasn't a great idea. Then we'd clean things up and she would be responsible for cooking....yup, we ate a lot of fish!

We had a worm bed there. I was never allowed to get worms at the bait store because we had that dumb nasty worm bed. It was actually the drainage area for the sink inside the cabin and the place where egg shells, potato skins, and other food remnants were dumped. It was in there I had to dig up my own worms if I wanted them which was usually every weekend. I never found night crawlers but the earth worms were plenty. The dirt in there.....oh yum and I say that with the utmost of sarcasm....disgusting mud almost but not quite. I would get a bucket or coffee can, throw a shovelful of dirt in there and begin my hour long job of digging up enough worms for myself and my brothers for the next couple days. The closer we dug to the drainage pipe, the bigger the worms but I really hated digging was just yuck!

Whenever I'm out fishing with my hubby and our son, I often think of my younger days spent living a life that I've since learned I absolutely loved. I never wanted to run around there, I loved just sitting on the dock or playing cards or watching my dad work. My childhood was that cabin, it was the most prominent influence in my life and just another outlet that allowed me to spend time with my mom and dad.

My childhood was a bit complicated, it was an unhappy and painful time for many in my family and myself....but that cabin....Not so much the bad memories I might have from that place but those memories that are deeply embedded in my heart that warm me from head to toe. The sound of my father's laughter, the joy he got when he would whip us around on the water skis or inner tubes and we would go flying, the tears glistening in his eyes when he laughed so hard, the endearing sound of him calling me Bubs whenever he needed something--my mother's crinkled face as she cleaned fish and tried to scratch an itch on her face with scaly hands, her walking in the cabin with fish scales all over her hair, the worry she wore on her face when we swam or skiied, fishing on the paddle boat with her, learning cribbage and solitaire from them, my mom helping me dig up worms because there was a point I could barely lift the shovel and no one would mom shoving me under the bed when a bad storm would come, her and I venturing out to the outhouse at midnight and my dad sneaking out and hiding and jumping out at us..

Regardless of the painful memories that may surround that period in my life and that of my siblings I have to say that blocking out the one 'thing' that haunts us all gets a lot easier because those memories and moments of laughter and fun times with my folks far outweigh those sorrows that enveloped so many....I'm not one to succomb but more like one to fight and see the positive in the's not always the easiest thing in the world but it's certainly taught me a lot about life.....

No comments: