As I mentioned, our time at Pine Forest Lodge last weekend was phenomenal. Good family together time, great cousin time, a blue moon party in Rob's honor, and a really big fish to boot. I couldn't have asked for more. Because it was such a great time at a place that is near and dear to us all, I thought I'd recount some of the memorable moments of years past "at the cabin". I do this not to the exclusion of those who have never been to PFL, but rather to the inclusion of anyone out there that has been to "the cabin." Most everyone has a favorite summer place they have been to as a kid or an adult and likely will be able to relate to some of the moments I describe.
First Fish: While not everyone's first fish was at PFL, most people in our family caught their first fish at a cabin. Sarah used to sit in what we call her African squat on the dock in Hackensack MN for hours and catch bluegills. It is where she caught her first fish as well as her first northern pike.
Hanging at the beach: Ya'll come Time: One of the things I enjoy most about the cabin is the ability to go down to the Adirondack chairs on the beach front and hang out. People come and people go. Some talk, some read, some nap, some bring food, some eat the food. It is a chance to get below the surface with each other on what's really going on in our lives, if we choose, or just keep it light.
Boating: Some of the more memorable boating ventures I recall include: Borrowing Tom's 12' "washtub" boat with Rob once and going fishing in it. I remember he said "I feel like a fricken giant in this boat, man!" (He was not alone. It was barely big enough for one giant, let alone two.) The resort owner John took us to the Turtle Flambeau Flowage once to "swimmers island." That involved 6 or 8 of us piling into canoes and paddling to a nice sandy beach. There were several years where we rented boats from John and Cheri to fish the "dead sea" as we called it. And finally, the kayaks and stand-up boards are a favorite among the kids. You do not have to be an expert to paddle them, so the kids take to them and have a blast.
Birthday celebrations: Because we usually go to the cabin in August, it always seems to bump up against a birthday or two. Cupcakes and presents with cousins shared in a cabin too small for the crowd was kind of an annual thing up north. We also celebrated my sister Pat's 50th up there, one filled with gag gifts of various medications and age insulting cards. They were always special times because after all, there's nothing that goes better with a chocolate cupcake than a beer.
Porch Coffee Time: Early mornings are spent wandering and usually everyone passes through Nanny's porch at some point. It is a favorite meeting place for many of us. We usually started and ended our day there talking to Mom and anyone else who wandered in.
First Musky: Paul started the whole quest for a musky in 2004 or 2005, and had success on his first cast as I recall. The musky is a special fish, one that holds a certain mystique about it. After Paul caught his, Rob was quick to go to downtown Mercer and buy a Musky Rod and reel. He didn't have luck that year, but did the following year. Since then, Hunter, Tom, and most recently Sarah have all landed a musky at the cabin. It is now my goal to get one for some of the other cousins.
These are just some of the reasons the cabin is such a special place. When we arrive I feel my blood pressure drop almost immediately. Time slows down. Worries fade away. People relax. It is camping without all the work. The best part about it though is that, almost always, the entire family is there. It has dwindled to a long weekend for some of us, but is one of the best weekends of the year. And I am thankful for that.