Cabin memories: sometimes unexpected change can be good
By Megan Creig, Staff Writer
I remember pulling up to the cabin each summer, windows down, gravel popping under us as we edged down the side of the mountain in an overfull van, canoe clutching at the roof. Every summer, we would unpack the necessary bits into the cabin as quickly as possible. The long drive almost always left us racing against the setting sun. Yet, without fail, we would make our way down the zigzagging path to the beach and to the lake, just as the sky began to flush pink. It was tradition.
This tradition was a bit of a hand-me-down. My grandpa had built the cabin when my mom was still a kid. They would spend every summer in the cabin and relished their time at the lake. We did too. Because it was so close to their hometown, these visits were also how I saw my grandparents for most of my childhood. My memories of them and the cabin are very much intertwined.
The cabin itself was quaint. It was two levels packed into an A-frame build — kitchen, dining room, living room and a single bedroom, all unaltered since the late ‘70s. There was also no running water, but this never bothered me as a kid. In fact, it was exciting because it meant we got to go brush our teeth outside under the trees and stars. During the daytime, I painted rocks, made potions in the woods, collected snail shells and practically lived splashing in the lake. Evenings were spent outside too, with meat sizzling on the barbecue as old rock anthems blared on the radio.
Life went at a different pace there. The cabin was in its own little stress-free bubble. I think maybe that’s why losing it was so hard.
While we did our best to maintain the cabin during summers, the rest of the time the work fell on my grandparents’ shoulders. That, combined with how isolated their hometown was meant that they eventually had to move. When they made the decision, the cabin had to go up for sale too.
I don’t remember exactly what I felt when I found out it had sold, but it’s safe to say it felt like there was a cabin-shaped hole in my life. I do remember that the first few summers afterwards felt empty and bland. This was my happy place. It’s where I felt most at peace. Without it, what did I have to look forward to when life would suck a little more than usual?
I did eventually find things to look forward to but something much more important came out of the loss. For years, I would see my grandparents once a year. Now, they lived in my city, mere blocks away. They could finally come to band performances and sports games. I visited their house for tea and movie nights. We had road trips and long conversations. These are experiences that I would never have had if they hadn’t moved and that’s something I feel so fortunate for now.
My grandpa passed away last year. When I think of the cabin now, I think of fond memories with my family. I think of a landmark in my grandpa’s long, amazing life that I got to share. I think of him.