I’ve been on a little trip this past week or so. Just got back last Thursday. We (and by “we” I mean me, Mr. M, my sister and her family, and mom and her friend) went down to a very special place for a very special reason. We finally got to lay Dad’s ashes to rest at The Lake House a good seven months after he died. Since he died on New Year’s Eve and got fireworks we figured he deserved the fireworks of the 4th of July for a proper final send off.
The Lake House is in the Top Two Places I Love. The first place being anywhere Mr. M is, of course. So having Mr. M at The Lake House was bliss!
A Little Background on The Lake House:
My father’s parents bought land and dock access in Georgia on Lake Lanier in the early 1960s (we are figuring at best). At first my grandparents and their four sons (my dad and his three younger brothers) would camp there on the tent platform they made. Then part of the cabin was built. Just the one room that was the kitchen, small dining area, and small living room area. Not really big enough for a family of six.
Mom & Aunt K
So they just kept adding on. Soon a bathroom, laundry room and shower. Then a master bedroom with a loft for the kids. Sometime in the late ‘70s (I am guessing from all the burnt orange decor and carpet) a large living room and in-ground basement was added as the brothers were having families and more room was needed for grandchildren to visit. Also Grandma and Grandpa retired to the cabin and they needed more room.
Much of what is there is built with material that was taken from the ground with their bare hands. My uncles shared stories of the stones in the fireplace being pulled from any stream they happened upon. Some are poured concrete that hold special rubies and gems they sifted at those find-your-own-treasure places you see a lot in the south. The brothers also striped the bark off the lovely timbers that adorn the ceilings. I never knew those two things.
We would go to The Lake House every summer when I was a kid no matter where we lived (Charlotte, NC; Plano, TX; or Rochester, NY). I have the best memories of that place. I learned to swim and water ski. Grandma taught me about gardening. I caught and cleaned fish. The Lake House is paradise to me.
I have not been there much since I moved out of my parents’ house when I turned 18. Sad really. Dad and I went a couple times together. I went when Grandma and Grandpa died in the late ‘90s. Otherwise I haven’t been able to afford the airfare or a car trip.
But that is going to change. My pennies are going into an airfare jar!
Being there instantly made my whole being calm down. The swimming did me good. The sun and lake water made my skin happy. It turns out that boat rides make me smile involuntarily. And I knew Dad was there with me always just wanting us to have as much fun there as he had. Plus it’s ridiculously fun to drive a 30-year-old golf cart down an off-road, tree-root-littered pine forest path down to the water. It’s 50/50 if you’ll make it!
One of my uncles lives very close to The Lake House and takes very good care of it. He uses it a lot and keeps a boat at the dock. His kids use it. It is still being loved. I think that is wonderful!
I do plan on trying to go again this season when it’s a little cooler. The 90º F temps kept me inside too much. A little week-long art retreat up there alone sounds like heaven.
RIP Daddy! I love you!