Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Cold and Foggy Day

Today is like a Saturday around here, Adam has the day off and usually we are slow to get going. This morning I made coffee (not an everyday thing for me) and followed a different recipe than normal for pancakes, just to change things up.

Somehow the combination of smells combined with the relaxed atmosphere took me back to the lake.

On our yearly summer trip from NY to Central California, where most of my Mom's family lives, we'd always fit in a weekend trip to my Grandparents' cabin up at the lake, as we called it. It was filled with hot and dry days followed by cool nights and mornings. Leisurely walks down to the dock and pontoons skimming the water as we rode wrapped in wet towels. Watering young trees, hammering dried wood onto the old tree house and sampling tender, juicy barbecue.

I stood in the middle of my Idaho kitchen this morning, overwhelmed by aromas, sounds of kids and delicious pancakes. All of which became, for a fleeting moment the air conditioner humming in the cabin, my Gram in her robe and slippers sipping coffee and making pancake batter. The small stand alone pantry full of goodies that we'd only ever eat up there (like canned cheese LOL!) topped with Gramp's sunscreen, his hat there and his boots by the door waiting to be filled as he took a rare opportunity to sleep in past the sunrise.

The lazy-susan overflowing with eggs, pancakes, bacon and fruit. The dark blue drapes pulled back to reveal a view of the lake, smooth as glass, waiting for the early boaters to make the first waves. Feelings of anxiety, similar to Christmas morning, to hurry down to the dock and get to water playing!

For a minute, as I tore my daughters pancake into bite sized pieces, I was out on the deck in the silent, quickly warming air tearing leftover pancakes to feed to the birds. For a moment I was giggling with cousins on the tire swing watching my Gramp throw horseshoes down by the barbecue pit where he worked his magic nightly.

I had a glimpse of my Gram sitting with my Mom on the dock, watching all the fun we were having eating chips, making mud castles, and just being kids. My Dad out with my Gramp on the boat came around to see who wanted the next ski. In general, my Gramp was one of those men that emanated confidence and diligence to us kids, almost unapproachable. But these times at the lake, he kicked back, laughed a laugh that you could see rejuvenate his soul and had patience as if time would stand still. Especially the time I was determined to learn to single ski, he let me keep trying until I was fed up, and then he let me have another go.

Hit it! The boat would smoothly and seamlessly accelerate at my Gramp's hand as the cool water flowed over my face and past the shoulders of my life jacket. Faster and faster pulling me up out of the water slightly, as if teasing me, before slapping me back into the cold hard surface as my fingertips slip off the rope handle. Over and over, seemingly forever, as if the lake's refusal to yield it's grasp on me was stronger than my will. Finally, one last time victorious I'm up on the single ski, the warm air on my face, the water beads up on my goose fleshed skin a glorious smile on my face is mirrored in his!

It was a fleeting minute but it also held with me while I savored my breakfast and went about my day. There is this feeling of peace that I always found there that has come back to me today.

Maybe someday we'll get back there so my kids can play were we once did. Mostly, I pray for the special times with loved ones in their childhood to tuck away in the corners of themselves. Maybe on some foggy day in their adult life something will take them back and keep them warm and fuzzy.


Linds said...

Wow. WOW. Heidi, this is magical. I came to read up on your kiddies antics, and here I am sitting here, transported into the world you grew up in, in the most beautiful of ways. You write SO beautifully, and there is a wistfulness in these words, for the days of your childhood, as well as a deep longing to provide the same kind of memories, which bring you such joy, for your little ones.
Please write some more. The picture you painted is so real I can picture it all for myself.

Mom said...

I am so happy that you shared your memories and transported me back to 'the lake' on this cold wintry evening! You write so eloquantly Rest assured your children will have warm memories of childhood and family times! Mine are different from yours: gardening with my BaBa, family dinners at both Grandparents house one of which there was poker playing afterward!

Regina said...

Hi Heidi, I read your facebook status about blogging so I had to come check out your blog. Well, I'm glad I did. Your blog entry read like a short story; the setting was so serene. It was a nice little break away from work! Do you write as a hobby or occupation? If not, you should!

Aunt Mimi said...

Now I am there, too, with tears in my eyes, indeed with some longing for those times. You certainly have captured it wonderfully. I'll try to print and send a copy to Gram.

Hannah said...

So true, we will carry our childhood memories with us throughout our lives. That certainly gives me good reason to make happy memories for my own children.

Enjoyed reading your story. Makes me ready for summer!

Nicki said...

Oh, Heidi, this was beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing. Such a wonderful gift to your children and to others who can, also, remember those moments you wrote about.

I have had those moments before too. Certain smells and sights can quickly transport me back in time to memories that I have of my childhood. I so want to create moments like those for my children, too.

Beautiful writing, Heidi!