Every summer for as long as I can remember, my parents, three siblings, and I have jumped into the family truckster and spent a week at our family cabin on the rocky shores of Lake Wah-Wash-Kesh, Ontario (I’m not kidding, that’s the actual name).
At first glance, this traditional log cabin isn’t much to view. The walls are clad with old photos, worn baseball caps, and even a random set of bull horns. But perhaps the most memorable item in the cabin, hanging above the kitchen table, is a simple wood sign with the words “Bill + Ann” etched into it.
As a kid, I had no idea who those people were. It took an embarrassing question to my parents and some light teasing to learn that it was grandpa and grandma.
My grandparents purchased the cabin in 1974 after spending years vacationing on the lake. As a matter of fact, my grandpa told stories of fishing trips he took on that very lake when he was a boy.
I’m sure purchasing the cabin was just a means to secure a place for the occasional getaway. My grandpa worked long hours. My grandma was taking care of five children. Who wouldn’t want a chance to take a break?
Little did they know, purchasing this old log cabin would mean so much more.
The cabin became a centerpiece of our family’s history. Regardless of where we have lived or how busy we might have been, our family has made it a priority to come together to this one spot every year.
During that time, we have enjoyed the same waters, listened to the same music, broken bread around the same table, and retold the same old stories (and laughed like we’ve never heard them before). We have made memories that will last us a lifetime.
In 1974, my grandparents, knowingly or not, gave us an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of our family for decades. Their place to get away became our way to drown out the noise of everyday life and focus on what is truly important: each other.
As summer approaches, I am feeling excited to return to our cabin for another family getaway. But this trip will be special in that I will be bringing the newest member of our family, my daughter, to the cabin for the first time.
I look forward to sharing with her all the love and laughter the cabin has given me. And maybe one day when she looks up at that wood sign above the kitchen table, she too will feel the same gratitude I feel for my grandparents and their decision back in 1974.