I'm back from the north woods of Minnesota, where you can lean back on your chair around the bonfire and see satellites move through the clear black sky with your naked eye, but you can barely get cell service, and certainly not wi-fi. But it's good to be unplugged...that's when you get to tune in to the things that really matter. Like spending time with family. We will all head home later in the summer but this trip was a special treat....treasured time on my own with Grandma.
I've had some solo outings with her in recent years, like a lunch out, or an afternoon at home (photo below from 2009). She has taken me to some fun and fascinating places - like museum exhibits in my teens, or an architecture field trip during a college spring break. She's visited me at some of the places I've lived, and I always make time for her on visits home. But I have never had five full days with her like this past weekend. What a privilege to spend time with her at her favorite place, the cabin at Rock Lake.
The only sign that hangs at the gate to long road down to the lake says No Trespassing. A new sign on the wall says What Happens at the Cabin Stays at the Cabin. I'm sorry to say you aren't invited, but I will give you a peek....
Below, she's directing Dad as he makes dinner.....which is only allowed as she's a really good cook (hey, she taught him!). I tried to impress her by making Yorkshire Puddings but I think she'll me more impressed when Graham makes her the requested jambalaya in July. Maybe if I attempt to make her famous strawberry jam I can win back some points in my favor.
We saw a baby fawn take her first steps. Had visits from the hummingbirds and other colorful feathered friends. Heard the loons. Spotted my favorite - the great blue heron. Found some new fronds. Prayed for a fresh fish dinner but none were caught. Enjoyed the familiar views from new settings - a sun room added last year. The little hunting cabin that got most of its attention every fall has become a hub of activity in the summer. Even fishing has taken a back seat to other more athletic water sports, especially with my brother's family living nearby. She hasn't been on the jetski, but loves to tour the perimeter of the lake on a pontoon, spotting the nesting eagles.
Grandma, the matriarch. She loves to shop for good bread. She eats bacon with black coffee every morning. The usual Scotch at five has diminished to a few sips when she feels like it. She is quick to laugh. Is still so styling - just got a new watch, and likes to dress smart...even has Uggs. (As a child I used to love to browse through her closets, touching her dreamy evening gowns and fancy shoes in plastic boxes). She reads the paper and knows a little about everything. Loves conversation about the past, but delights in the present and takes it all in stride. She listens, and remembers, and takes interest in every detail of her very extended family. We had a huge family reunion at the lake last summer - to celebrate HER.
I went to her alma mater, intending to be a legacy by pledging her sorority. I chose a life that was much different than hers, and never became a Kappa, or a hunter, or a cook. But she pays attention with authentic curiosity and enthusiasm as I tell her about my family, my activities, and my art.
Five days. A gift to have, carved out from ninety-nine years. I am so lucky.