We finally got a needed respite at the cabin. My dad built a big family cabin ten years ago. It had to be big because he had eight kids. My dad was the most frugal man I knew. He never bought us popcorn at the movies, (so my mom snuck it in) and he told us that putting our nickels in gumball machines was a waste of our money. When we went on trips, he bought us one or two large drinks to share. I’d take a big gulp right up front because when certain kids had had their turn, there was no way I’d drink again.
But my dad used his money to fuel his dreams and one of his biggest dreams was to build “a gathering place” for the family. He was a strong, hard-working, no-nonsense man. He could outwork the rest of us put together, and so he spent a great deal of his free time building our family cabin. He built and built. For years. We thought it would never get done. And then one day, it was done. We’ve spent a lot of time gathering here.
This is what our cabin looks like in the winter. It takes a lot of work to keep it warm. It’s a good thing my dad liked to work so much. We really miss him. He caught us all off guard when he had a heart attack on his bicycle. We thought he was invincible. And when I see pictures of him I think he’s still here.
These were some pictures taken during my dad’s last Christmas at the cabin.
He always made us gather in the family room. Sometimes we didn’t like it. He’d have us go around the circle and share something–like what our favorite part of Christmas was or something we had learned that year. While we sometimes complained under our breaths, we’re really grateful he did it. We really got to know each other better. And this Christmas, we gathered again. I sat in between my brother and sister. I scratched my sister’s back. My brother put his arm around me. We all gave our brother, Phillip, a birthday wish. We gave our sister Bonnie, and her fiancée, Greg, marriage advice. They really enjoyed that.
I hope my boys will someday like each other as well as I like my brother and sisters. I think there’s hope.
This year, my brother, Phillip, also got out my dad’s old Lionel train set. My dad got it for Christmas when he was eight. It still works. My dad was really good at taking care of things. He was better than I am at taking care of cameras. (I broke my lens a week ago on my nice camera and left my other camera at the cabin). It appears that trains still have magical qualities. Just ask these guys.
We still had a great time playing in the snow.
My favorite moment of the trip was taking first Ricky and then little Deborah on a sleigh ride. Ricky thrashed and screamed until he realized he actually liked it. He wanted to go again and again. We’re still not sure what Deborah thought. She didn’t smile nor did she cry. But I’m so grateful she let me take her. Thank you Dad, for such a wonderful weekend. I love you.