Thursday, July 3, 2014

Whidbey for the 4th

In a few moments, Beve will get home from an eye doctor appointment, then we'll load the car to the gills to drive to the family cabin. We're all being called to the closest thing my extended family has to a home-place to celebrate the 80th birthday of my favorite uncle. Actually, calling him 'favorite' is easy because he's the only uncle my siblings and I have ever known well. He's another victim of dementia now but all the cousins and his four kids (23 of us all together, and that's just in my generation). He was the one who made things work around our family property. If he didn't have the right piece of board, he'd pile all the kids in the carry-all and run down to the local lumber yard to find it. He's piled up more tools around the place than most hardware stores and concocted more ingenuous ways of helping a large number of people fit into what is a large property but a very small cabin (11 acres and only 3 rooms). Spinning towel racks, hooks that move, bathroom/shower stalls with communal sink areas, three tier bunks, etc. Of course we spent most of our hours outside, and he spent most of HIS weekdays in the city working for Boeing, but when he was at the cabin, he was always working, always making sure things worked smoothly so we could be kids.

These days, he mostly follows his wife around. Tries to help. He isn't always successful. But his brain still wants to solve problems like the brilliant chemist he always was. So as many of us as can will party with him for the next four days.

And we'll enjoy the place that is our home-place, too. We'll crowd together in the kitchen, dishing out food and quips in equal share. We'll gather around the campfire, roasting marshmellows and each other. We'll tease each other when one of us gets too pompous, when another is too silly, just to put each other in his or her place. My cousins, siblings, our children (at least those who are grown) and I have a rhythm. We know each other, and we find it most at our cabin on the wide meadow, surrounded by the arching trees. We're protected from the rest of the world there. In fact, the world slips away when we're at Whidbey.

It's the best kind of 4th of July--Whidbey 4ths. Maybe we'll even put on a play.
I'd like to see that. A play, just like the old days, when we we kids and our uncle/dad was still busy making things run the way they should at the home-place.

Happy 4th. See you next week...

1 comment:

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Very touching. Love the picture of family life in the OLD USA that this conjures up in my mind. Truly stirs up memories of my childhood and later years...and some of that is also the wishing we could still do that kind of thing. Thank you for this. We will have our family/friend gathering this weekend at our house in the woods, but somehow yours sounds like the best scenario. However we each have to make our own the best that it can be...the important thing is to make those memories. Enjoy your dear Uncle. Precious times.