Last Thursday we arrived at our little cabin late at night (as is usually the case). We immediately fell into our “getting settled” routine: Mike lighting pilot lights, turning on water, checking mouse traps; Abe carrying in suitcases, pak-n-plays, and coolers; Daisy and Goldie happily deciding where to put all the groceries (treats always in the highest cupboard where they are less likely to tempt sneaky little hands); Penny and the boys up in the loft with Summer –torn between the need to hunker down in blankets while they wait for the heat to kick on and the desire to run around excitedly pulling out every “cabin toy”.
As I went about my own prescribed duty of furiously vacuuming up bugs (mostly boxelder, mostly behind the couch by the glass windows, and mostly just . . . mysterious piles of bodiless wings); my mind flitted off to my own childhood, mostly-night-time arrivals at my grandma’s Bear Lake trailer. I could remember my mom and grandma putting away groceries and my sisters and I eagerly and ceremoniously unpacking the contents of our mustard-colored bags into the empty drawers that somehow, unspoken though it was, belonged specifically to each of us.
I could sense something similar happening in our bustlings that night. I could see those ordinary tasks becoming familiar, tradition, and . . . strangely significant.
The big things – the hikes up Limberpine trail, the visits to the beach, the four-wheeling, the movies and games. They will always be remembered (just like my younger self’s walks up Hodges road and trips to The General Store for ice-cream cones). You could pinpoint those things with certainty. But that night I began wondering about the other things – the things that, while residing in the utterly mundane and humdrum, every now and then, up and decide to claim a status that is somehow more.
Nobody knows they’ve decided to raise themselves to a place of such magic at the time of course. It is only years later when -- the memory of that yellow, plastic bin filled with water (meant to rinse sandy feet before re-entering the trailer); the way the back step creaked when my dad went out early in the morning to swim or type; the feel and smell of those rough gray and tan outdoor blankets -- become all tied in with inexplicable significance and sentiment.
I wasn’t sure which of these very everyday things were sneakily expanding themselves into something more in the case of my kids. The sound of that little vacuum going about the cabin? The feel of the green velvety blanket in the loft? The grating sound the barstools make when moved even slightly? I only knew that somehow . . . some of them were readying themselves to someday be tied intimately to family and tradition and the memories we are making. And I felt grateful for those little simple things that would someday lend an extra dose of happiness surrounding the traditions Mike and I are creating.
And before ending on that lovely note, I shall add a few cell-phone pictures from the trip (including a quick stop at grandpa’s farm on the way home) as well as a few bits of funny things said around here lately (as I am wont to do).
Abe: Jesse, why are your socks on my bed?
Abe: Jesse, but why did you put them on my bed?
Jesse: Because. They had little prickly things in them.
Well. There’s your answer Abe. I’m not sure what more you were hoping for.
On our way to Bear Lake, the kids were discussing various injuries of the past. Eager to be included, Anders began reminiscing about the time when he hurt his thumb and I had to get him . . . a new arm.
“Really?” Abe asked. “What was your new arm made of?”
“Uhhh . . .” Anders momentarily faltered, but then, with confidence: “plastic.”
An entire new arm seems a pretty severe course of action for me to take when all he had was a wounded thumb, but, of course, I don’t remember the whole story as well as Anders seems to. Perhaps, at the time, it seemed the logical solution.