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the cabin

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.

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Reader Comments (40)

what fond memories. it makes me miss my grandparents and the times we all gathered as a family aound them in the summer. thanks for reminding me

08.28.2009 | Unregistered Commentercindi

In this age of instant everything, the gift of anticipating a visit to your family cabin and the good memories it evokes afterwards are a precious gift to give your children. Showing them that sleeping in a tent, playing in the creek and building family relationships are so much better than being plugged into tv (or phone or internet). How wonderful to be able to pass this down from your grandparents.

How awesome. I especially love how the cabin came to be built. Both sides of our family live pretty much all over the country and it would be nice to have something like this for every summer.

08.28.2009 | Unregistered Commentercheryl

This is so sweet. My famliy has been having family reunions for about 30 years and they are very special. :)

08.28.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristen

i love this. what a great family tradition and memory to pass down to your children. and heavy's market, wow!

08.28.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjanet

that looks so fun! I live in northern california... where is it?

08.28.2009 | Unregistered Commenterhanna

Lovely post, and it's stuck with me since I read it a few days ago. I love the architecture of the cottage--different from cabins I have fond memories of in Maine and the Adirondacks. I love the flyer from the grocery store--love the font, and why aren't there more people nicknamed Heavy nowadays?? I hope that's framed in the family cabin.
Thanks for sharing...

08.29.2009 | Unregistered Commentermeanders

My Grandpa rocked the flannel shirt-fisherman's cap look too. =:)

Yay for Grandpas!

08.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

sounds really amazing. what beautiful trees and a gorgeous cabin. wish my family had some sacred place like that where we gathered every year. I would like to do that for my kids and grands one day.

08.30.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkathryn

lovely post.

08.30.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjackie

How I hope to create a tradition like this for my future children. You sure have something special.

08.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn

Sweet. It made me think of loved ones who have passed since I was a child. You're description of your Grandfather in his flannel shirt took me back in time. I loved those days. Thank you for a little trip down memory lane.

08.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

What a special place! We also just spent a week at our family cabin, built by my husband's grandpa. There is nothing so magical as gathering with family in a beautiful spot like that!

awww, such a nice post. Isn't it so much fun taking your kids to special places that you loved as a kid.

09.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

How lovely!

09.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy@OldSweetSong

How sweet is that? Traditions are so important. It looks like a wonderful rustic place, and I'm sure it's filled to the brim with special memories. You are so lucky to have it.

09.2.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer lorton

what a sweet memories & your writing made them come alive...i love it when things get passed down through the generations...nothing better than that :)

09.3.2009 | Unregistered Commenteremily ruth

I am not a regular commenter, but just had to say that was lovely. It is such a sentimental sweet post!

Thanks for sharing. It makes me think of my own grandparents. Thank you for that.

09.9.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly Rinehart

What a magical post.

09.21.2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhoe

Sounds perfect. Unpretentious, raw, natural, beautiful and fun. Exactly what I would love to do with my own family. I loved this story-telling. Thank you for sharing it.

09.29.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlexi

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