Friday, July 24, 2009
For the first time in years I left the dogs and went to stay with my old friends at their rented camp. I have known this family since I was eight years old. The original five children I grew up with have multiplied into three generations, the youngest singing kareoke in the last picture. Eliza and Nicholas, the grandchildren of my brother's friend, the grand neice and nephew of my lifelong friend...........
The camp was a kind of stereotypical rented cabin on a lake. The beach in front was strewn with boats and other floating paraphernalia. Dogs ran wild everywhere....chasing sticks thrown into the water for them to chase, playing with each other. Children swam like porpoises, and adults lounged in chairs or on floats. Meals were a joint effort, with potato salad, rice, corn, steaks, salmon, salad and burgers appearing on the huge table each mealtime. People slept either in one of the two bedrooms or on beds positioned in various corners of the big room, usually under deer heads and guns that graced every wall. In the evenings we all sat at the table and talked, reminiscing as well as discussing more contemporary times and issues.
On the second day after my arrival Jack took us for a day-long boat trip, wandering from lake to lake on streams that connected them. We were loaded with coolers of drinks, sandwiches, sunscreen, hats and sweatshirts(in case we got cold). At times Jack took the boat to the shore where we briefly explored the woods and peed. The first picture shows Jack, Lorraine, and Gina, all of whom were the companions of my childhood. Cindy was also there, and representing the next generation, Becky, who perched on the bow of the boat watching for dangerous rocks. Paula, the other sibling, had left early that morning with her two grown daughters (one of whom is in the second picture in the canoe with her dog), driving a truck and hauling a huge camper.
Usually I am nostalgic and sad when I am in a situation that brings back old memories, but this was different. I felt connected to my past in a nice way, and the passing of time seemed natural and correct. When I was young, Lorraine's parents were there taking care of us. They have both died, and their children have stepped into their place, caring for different children, different dogs, in different camps on different lakes. Yet it was still the same, with people flowing through the generations seamlessly. I felt privileged to be a part of it. I was a part of it despite the lack of the right genetic material. I had a place in the picture, a place of long-standing and security. It was a great time.