Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday, Snowy Sunday

Leaving our small town with rain threatening to pelt us, our family of six drove up the mountain to my parents' snug little cabin in order to celebrate my dad's 65th birthday and E's 15th. As we twisted and turned up the narrow, foggy highway in our mini-van, B was mumbling something behind us. I turned around and asked him if he was praying for snow. He replied, "No, begging." Good distinction.

It was a balmy 40 when we left our town; 20 minutes and 2000 feet further up the mountain, it was 34 degrees and smelling like snow. (Hard to describe, but most of you know that distinctive smell.) Within an hour, my dad and brother were grilling dinner in the midst of fluttering snowflakes. My brother, in parka and hiking shorts, did the vast majority of the grilling while the kids, dressed in hats, parkas, gloves, and boots, scraped enough snow off of the parked cars to make slushy snowballs and managed to get in a few good flings.

As we ate grilled chicken and pork ribs, fruit and Caesar salads, scalloped potatoes and garlic bread, snow began falling in earnest. The kids were outside again in a jif, coming in an hour later soaked and chilled, ready to warm up before the fire in the old stone fireplace, where my sister-in-law and myself sat, trying to keep warm despite low thyroid levels (a glass of red wine helps!)

The cabin is truly a magical place. Only 600 square feet, it hosts a small kitchen, an even smaller bathroom, a sleeping porch (windows across one entire wall with a double-bed and a berth inside, and then a great room with a big Murphy bed, a sofa, coffee table, end table, and a dining set that can have leaves added to make it large enough to seat twelve. The furniture, the pictures on the wall, the knick knacks on the shelves, are all familiar to me: they had all been part of my grandparents' (all deceased now) homes. My grandfather's World War II commendations hang on the walls. Six generations of family photos grace the simple wood-paneled walls. A quilt hangs high in the vaulted great room, and brightly-painted beams criss-cross the airy space above our heads. And this little place is surrounded by acres of national forest and much wildlife. The cabin is where our family gathers for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and any other holiday we can manage. We can almost feel the generations now gone surrounding us as we sit in their chairs and put our mugs on their coffee table. The cabin, and everything inside its four walls, is a family treasure.

And as we drove home yesterday, we waved good-bye to the snow, most likely the last of the season, remembering the driven flakes and the joy of our kids, especially of one little boy who had "begged" for just such a day.

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