Tales from the Cabin
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My Cabin: Glorious Moments at Camp Grandma


Story and photos by Annis Pratt, Cabin Life reader
Cabin location: Birmingham, Mich.
Published: September 9, 2011
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THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM – This bucolic scene can only mean one thing: The grandkids haven't arrived yet.
If your adult children, like mine, wait forever (and ever and ever) to have kids, you will find your superannuated-self getting ready for the inevitable family visit to the cabin with both anticipation and trepidation. You’ve seen us at the supermarket, our carts piled high with all kinds of food we never eat, prattling away about how exited we are that the family is coming up this weekend. But, if you look closer, you’ll notice a strain about our eyes denoting a weird combination of passionate love and pure dread.
    We love them to bits, but we know what is coming: the Zen-like tranquility of our personal arrangements is about to be radically altered. Within an hour of our dear family’s arrival, every surface of our floor, carpet, dining room table, sofa, chairs, coffee table and even our stairs will be strewn with toys, books, wet shirts, sand, juice boxes, gum, wet bathing suits, sand, diapers, toy dump trucks, teddy bears, sand, legos, handheld video games, and underwear. But it's worth the mess.

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HAPPY CAMPER – One of the many grandchildren that makes Camp Grandma so perfect.
There is a vulnerability about our grandchildren that makes us feel vulnerable too. When we are alone, we hike intrepidly through a forest where coyote packs gather at dusk, but refuse to go within a mile of that same forest with our babies and toddlers, even in their strollers. When screaming ravens mob something in the woods, following the blood chilling death cry of a fawn, we consider the event with a certain scientific detachment – something feline: bobcat? lynx? Maybe the cougar that was spotted last week in the meadow behind the house? But when our grandchildren come visit, we turn into terrified rabbits, sticking to them like glue every second they are outside.
    Of course, all kinds of glorious moments more than make up for any minor headaches. My little granddaughter pads up the loft stairs before anyone else is up and snuggles into bed with me.
    My older grandsons spend hours wading about in the river with a net and a jam jar, marveling at every minnow and baby crayfish they manage to catch.  
    Then there’s the memory of sitting on the water stairs at sunset with my granddaughter when 17 mergansers came gliding in for the night, with all but one solitary sentry duck tucking their heads under their wings to go to sleep, drifting around and around in the eddy.
    There is the delight of paddling down the Betsie River behind my 10-year-old grandson as he joyously skims ahead, as a great blue heron flies down the river, shouting joyfully at the sun as if the world were brand new – which, of course, it is every morning at the cabin. A brand new day to fill with glorious moments.


TELL US ABOUT YOUR PLACE! Just like this reader-submitted piece, your story about your place could appear in Cabin Life!
Send us 2-3 high-resolution photos* and a 250–500 word story, sharing why you love your cabin and what you enjoy doing there.  Send to: “My Cabin,” Cabin Life Magazine, 21027 Crossroads Circle, P.O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612.  Or e-mail: editor@cabinlife.com (subject line: My Cabin).
* High-resolution means 4x6-inch photos at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch. Prints from film cameras are fine too.
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