Friday, August 12, 2005

I am back from the cabin! I kinda wish I was still there. It is so nice to just sit around, read, swim, go for a boat ride, walk in the sand, play games or watch one of the 4 channels we get on TV.

Actually I am in Eldora right now. Jeff and I made the 8 hour trek from Cass Lake, MN today. It wasn't a bad drive at all. I might have headed back to IC tonight, but tomorrow is the start of the secret remodeling of my mom's kitchen. Well, not a total remodel, (t's only one weekend afterall!) but new counters, sink, faucet, and backsplash. The painting and flooring will be up to her. My aunt and uncle came up with the idea and they as well as my cousin are coming here tomorrow to do all the work, with my help of course! This is a big ol' Victorian house with a '70s era kitchen. The floor is impossible to clean and the faucet leaks. Lexsea has been taking the measurements for everything while my mom was at work and Mom is totally clueless! I am so excited. Josh was going to come help if he didn't have to work, but he is working all weekend but I talked to Corey as I was unloading my car and he is going to stop in tomorrow afternoon to offer his assistance. My mom is going to be totally shocked that we did all this without her knowledge.

9:16pm...

I took everything out of the cupboards and started my laundry. I am currently sitting in a towel waiting for some clothes suitable for sleeping in to dry. I am all alone here, so I can wander around in a towel without any awkward situations arising.

All week I was thinking about what I remember of the cabin from my childhood and have been wanting to write it down so here we go:

Our family's cabin sits on the edge of Cass Lake between Stoney Point and Strawberry Point was built in the 1940's, I believe. It has a stone foundation and the walls are formed by logs of about a foot in diameter. They have been painted brown and the roof is a bright green with a stubbby covered chimne in the center. Inside the logs were naturally weathered while the cabin was being built and subsequently stained. The floors are wood and in the dining/living room a large stone fire place occupies a whole wall. In front of the fire place sits a table made from a wagon wheel surrounded by round wicker chairs and a chandelier also made from a wagon wheel hangs directly above. There used to be two more wheel wagon chandeliers, but they were deemed to dangerous due to their close proximity to the head of anyone over 5'10" and were recently replaced with discrete recessed lights which have greatly improved the lighting on the front porch and in the living/dining area. The original outhouse and garage are still standing and both are in use. Indoor plumbing was installed when I was very young, but the outhouse is still regularly used. They are both built with the same logs and roof as the cabin. Our kitchen still has the bright red hand-pump sitting on the counter though it is no longer used since we have running water. I remember taking baths in a big teal tub while the adults took a swim with a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap to get clean before we installed a shower, sink and toilet. I just realized, I have no idea what the room that is now the bathroom was used for before it was the bathroom. The whole front of our cabin is a screened porch facing the lake. Windows cover the front and one side while the opposite side of the porch is occupied by a set of double doors made of thick, light colored wood with iron locks and handles. We have a rather large, sandy beach and worn red dock that has been stained and painted several times over the years. It is the only dock we have ever had and I can't imagine having one of those new docks with no gaps to get your toes stuck in when running down the dock. That dock is as much a part of the cabin as the rest of it. The dock forms an 'L' and my favorite part to sit or lie on is the bottom of the 'L' which is the farthest out from the beach. It's rusty, faded and chipped and it creaks and leans, but I don't think it would be the same if we had a new dock.

I was remembering all the ways I tried to get the sand off my feet and flip-flops before heading up to the cabin from the beach. My legs were too short to sit on the dock with my feet in the water so I had to put my flip-flops on the dock at a place I could climb up to out of the water with relative ease. I was never very successful which was why Granny always had a tub of water waiting by the front door for us to dip our feet in before entering the cabin. I usually sleep on the front porch and Papa used to wake me up each morning singing something while sitting at his computer or just wheeling his way over to our bed and telling us to wake up. I often woke up to the sounds and smells of Granny cooking her crispy-around-the -edges-blueberry pancakes, using berries she picked from the front yard. There also the fish fries with fish we had caught the same day and her wonderful blueberry desert with a graham cracker crust and lots of whipped cream.

Bailey, Lex and I used to build big floating islands with all our fun-noodles, tubes, and whatever else we had that floated. We made all sorts of crazy contraptions and would float and splash each other for hours. The three of us would also purposely sink and tip our canoe and try to climb back in. Tubing and knee boarding were also regular activities. I used to think the bottom of the lake was icky and gross because of all the plants and the squishy sand on the bottom as you get farther from our dock so I refuse to go out there unless I had water shoes on, and my sister still doesn't go out without her water shoes. I always thought Bailey was rather brave for not wearing any water shoes.

We used to play in the sand a lot. We built sand castles and dug trenches and collected shells. I remember making a fish and I always wanted to make an enormous sand castle, but never accomplished that feat. A couple years ago Peter, the next oldest of the cousins after me, and I were photographed making a bunch of drip castles while all the younger ones sat around by our fire pit on the beach. One year a bunch of us took the boat to the point on Cedar Island and dug a bunch of trenches and made drip castles. Bailey christened our creation Sandanavia and that area has been referred to as Sandanavia by us ever since.

I used to frantically swim in my white foam flotation device in front of the seining net as my parents dragged it around the dock to catch shiners for the day's fishing always deathly afraid of the dire consequences of getting caught in the net. I am still not sure what the dire consequences were.

I used to love fishing. We bought a pontoon boat so my grandpa could easily get his wheel chair onto a boat and do what he loved. I remember pushing him down the dock and always getting caught on that one section that stuck up above the others and how he always laughed and made funny sounds as we worked our way over the bump. Papa would call "her fishy, fishy, fishy" and he alway caught the most fish. They were either runts or the biggest fish of the day, but he always had the most. I eventually got good at catching the minnows in the bucket and hooking them on the hooks. I could even take the fish off the hook without getting cut by the sharp dorsal fins.

At night we play games such as Scrabble and work on puzzles. We only receive 4 1/2 channels on our TV so we have to entertain ourselves. One of our favorite games when we were young had something to do with pigs. After some quick research, i.e. Google, I think I have figured out the game is called PigMania because our version is probably from the 70's and now known as Pass the Pig. We always giggled at "makin' bacon".

This week we played only one game of Scrabble and did the usual puzzle as well as read and watched Big Brother. Last night we went gambling. You only have to be 18 in MN to gamble so all of us could go. We all went in with $5 and all of us but Bailey lost everything. She actually ended the hour with $26. She basically won back what the rest of us lost. The best part of it is, Bailey had no idea what she was doing so she just pushed buttons. My mom didn't get it either so I tried to explain to her how a slot machines worked, but I don't think she ever really got it. Lex, Bailey, and my mom decided to go back again before they leave.

It is no 11:00 so I better get to bed so I am ready to work bright and early tomorrow. I think they will be getting here around 7:30am!

5 comments:

Amanda said...

What great memories! Isn't it great going back and certain sounds or smells bring those back?

I have similar memories of going to Warren Lake, in Illinois, but we camped in a camper instead of having a cabin.

Chelsea said...

I love that place. It would be so weird if I didn't go there every year for at least a little bit. I want to bring everyone up there for a long weekend sometime. Maybe we can work something out next summer!

Bailey said...

All your memories of the cabin almost made me cry happy tears, Chels!!! I was surprised you didn't mention humongous leaches though!!! :) I talked to my mom and she said that the present bathroom used to have just a sink with a drain... no running water (obviously). Where the toilet is now, there wasn't anything before. They used to use the bathroom for sponge baths. They would heat water up on the stove, bathe in the big white enamel kettle - like thing, and then dump the water down the sink drain. Just so you know! :)
Thanks for all the great memories, Chelsea!!!

Chelsea said...

I wasn't sure leeches fit the description of "happy memories," but they did give us some memorable times. I always think of when you, Bailey, had that leech between your toes and you calmly sat on the dock while someone ran to get the salt.

Bailey said...

I was calm on the outside... not on the inside. ;)