Reflections: Lessons From A Lake
"Don't pack anything fancy, girls. We're going to Grandpa's cabin by the lake in the woods for vacation this year." The words were hardly out of daddy's mouth before I began to shudder. Even though I had been quite young and several years had passed since being there, my fears were quick to resurface. As I recalled, the cabin was more like a shack - made of roughly hewn logs from trees my grandfather had chopped himself. The woods had been wild, "bug-gy", and also known to have an occasional bear. When we swam in the lake we got leeches on our toes. And perhaps what bothered me more than anything was the secret I carried deep in my heart. My grandpa scared me. He was a huge man with an even bigger voice. He had a head of wild red hair, rarely shaved, had worked deep in the coal mines all his life and was wrinkled and rough. I attempted a smile at daddy, but my mind was screaming, "Shack, Bugs & Bears, Leeches, Scary Grandpa!"
Upon arrival my memory of the roughly hewn cabin was indeed a reality. So much for a comfortable week. Grandpa stepped out of the doorway and his booming voice bellowed out his welcome. His embrace was bone crushing. I went weak-kneed. But...supper was amazing! Grandpa had caught fish that afternoon in "his" lake, cleaned them and fried them up for supper. I don't think I'd ever had anything so tasty. And dessert - homemade blueberry pie! He actually winked at me when he served it. Like he had a secret or something.
The next morning Grandpa asked me if I would like to "go to the blueberry store" with him. I knew there weren't any stores around and then he winked again. We walked down to his rickety dock, climbed into his ancient wooden rowboat and set off. I had to admit, the view on the lake was beautiful! In just a matter of minutes, Grandpa pulled into a cove and tied the boat to a tree stump. I stayed close behind him, always mindful of what might be lurking in the bushes. "Are there bears?" I asked. "No, not here," he boomed, "I'd just scare 'em away." We'd hardly walked at all before coming to an immense patch of blueberry bushes. "Pick all you want, honey. They grow wild here." On the way back to the cabin, Grandpa taught me how to row the boat! His booming "Pull left, pull right" echoed across the lake and actually made me laugh!
No, I still don't swim in lakes. But I know that rough old cabins and rough old men have often been roughly hewn from hearty beginnings. Once you begin to sand off the rough exterior you may find some beauty underneath. I can still row a boat and I can make a tasty blueberry pie. Thanks to a weathered old red-haired miner who lived on a lake and took a little girl blueberry picking one fine summer day.
This month we are featuring an awesome array of books with the theme of WATER. And just as I began our family vacation with a pout on my face as I feared going to Grandpa's cabin, we'll be sharing a special book about a fish who was also pouting about a fear he was facing. Goodness, we have a sea serpent, a whale, a water park... July is "overflowing" with great water books and activities! Enjoy!
|Mary Byrne Kline|