My father's family gathers together once every two years for a reunion at our family cabin in Northern California. I'm not sure how long the tradition has been going.. 30 years? 40 years? When I was a little girl the reunion at the cabin was the highlight of my summer. I got to see my grandmother and grandfather, who I adored and spend time with my cousins, who lived far away.
We'd camp outside the cabin in tents because the cabin couldn't fit everyone. We'd run down the hill to explore the creek and skip rocks. We'd walk up to the clearing to watch stars at night. We'd head into town to visit the pool and grab an ice cream. We'd play cards until it was late at night and grandma's toffee nut bars were gone. Oh, I adore this sweet little cabin.
My great grandfather, who was nicknamed "Heavy", ran a grocery store near Sacramento back in the 1930's. During the Great Depression, many customers couldn't pay for their groceries because they were out of work. Heavy understood that people needed to eat. So he rented some forest land and put the men to work building a little cabin. He would pay them wages, some of which they used to pay back their debt to the store.
The cabin is nothing fancy. No TV. No radio. No telephone. No internet. It has one little bathroom that was added onto the back deck and a tiny shower. This summer we camped down the hill from the cabin, and it was Bee's first time sleeping in a tent. One morning she woke up around 6 AM and yelled "This is so much more fun than sleeping in our beds!" Do kids love anything more than camping?
We spent a few hours each day in town at the community pool. It's such a lovely spot to take a swim and stare up at the beautiful trees surrounding you in every direction. It brings back all kinds of memories when I was a little girl playing with my cousins or trying to jump off my dad's shoulders into the water.
The kids loved the creek just as much as I did when I was their age. Rushing water is endlessy entertaining and the creek is gentle, shallow enough that even Bee can cross it without too much trouble. We raced sticks and piled up rocks and tried to see how far we could throw our pebbles.
My grandfather passed away a few years ago, and I miss him, but especially so when I am at the cabin. I see him sitting on the deck under the trees with his flannel shirt and his fisherman's hat. I like to think he would be happy to see us still gathering together as a family, playing the card games he loved, talking and visiting, eating the tomatoes from his garden, and just enjoying the cabin.
Such a gift my great grandfather gave us. Here we are, four generations later, bringing our children to the cabin so they can enjoy it as well.