many times over the years, i’ve wished that i would have captured a moment in time on film that was special to me. most of the time i’d be too caught up in the present that the thought of pulling out my camera (or even bringing it along!) totally slipped my mind. determined to change this habit, i made a trip last weekend to relive some of my good memories from childhood, to a place that i haven’t been in over 25 years. off i went, with my girls in tow and camera in hand.
this was the destination. an old cabin, deep in the woods and many miles away from any road. the only way to get there is on foot….up the side of a mountain and through quite a bit of woods. it was a gorgeous day for a hike and i was looking forward to it. my girls? well, they’re wimps…what can i say. it was threatened, many times, that i would be carrying them if it was much further. when i told them that i’d let them where they sat and reminded them of the several bears seen in the area, they hushed up…for a bit. youth these days! 😉
once we arrived, i presented them with the scene that brought unending memories to my mind. they weren’t as impressed as i thought they’d be, but were just glad for a chance to stop and catch their breath. i went exploring, feeling giddy.
the cabin was smaller then what i remember, and time hasn’t been good to it. but, it was still standing, which put my mind at ease (i wasn’t too late!). stepping inside the narrow doorway (after checking for snakes), the sights and smells brought back a flood of memories.
this cabin belonged to an old farmer that lived down the road a-ways from my parent’s house. he built it long before i was born and used it as a hunting camp. george was one of a kind and a very generous man. he never locked the door to his cabin and kept it stocked for someone who may get lost or stuck out in the woods during bad weather. it’s so far away from anything that, if you weren’t familiar with the area, you may be stuck for quite a time. but this cabin was hardly foreign to me.
i spent so much time in this cabin as a child and young teen. things weren’t good at home, so it was usually best to just stay out of the way once your chores were done. this cabin and the woods surrounding it was my sanctuary…a place where i could think, dream, work out the anger that seemed to plague me during those years or just be. sometimes i would make my way up by foot, other times i would ride one of our horses. a few occasions were spent here with my dad while he was hunting, but rarely did he shoot anything. i suppose the thought of having to drag out a deer so far away from a road didn’t particularly appeal to him, so time was just spent sipping hot chocolate and soaking in the scenes.
my memories took me back to george and his wife, edith. i remember my older siblings and i spending a lot of time at their pond or roaming through their corn fields and woods. george drove this ancient tractor that was so loud, you could hear him coming for miles. when edith would see us at the pond, she’d sometimes invite us in for some cookies and lemonade. otherwise, we could quench our thirst in the pump house. the water there was so very cold. instant brain freeze! and the cup that hung on a nail beside the pump left a bitter metal taste in your mouth. george also drove an equally antique car-a 1930 ford that he had painted bright red…with a paintbrush. going to town was a HUGE deal and didn’t happen very often, but it was always more interesting when riding with george and edith. the clutch had been worn out for decades, but it still worked so george saw no reason to replace it. i think top speed was 25 m.p.h.
thankfully, their grandson (who inherited the farm) takes care of the house, barn and outbuildings along with the central field. however, the surrounding acreage is let to grow. it would take a lot of work to use them for cattle grazing and/or crops like george had. see those woods behind the barn? lots and lots of hours spent in those as well…swinging from the grapevines and such. during the winter, we would sled down off of these hills…it’s a wonder we didn’t kill ourselves! there’s a huge creek running down at the base of the hill that always made the sledding part quite interesting. if the sledding didn’t kill us, the frostbite should have. but, those stories are for another day.
once the girls got tired of wondering around the hillside (or, maybe they were tired of hearing me reminisce?) we headed back down to civilization. it was mostly all downhill so there wasn’t much complaining happening then. they even spotted some things that they had totally missed while they were complaining on the way up. i hung back for a bit, wanting to embed these memories as well as not really wanting to leave the cabin. if i wait another 25 years, i highly doubt that cabin will be there. my memories, and now, pictures, will have to sustain me.