Tales from the Cabin
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Cabinitis: Mob Scene

Are your family get-togethers like this one?
By Lars F
Published: December 1, 2006
webkids-cabinitis
Annual photo: The five grandkids
Photo by Lars F.
[cabinitis: a widespread malady first noticed significantly in the 1950s, increasing rapidly thereafter to today’s epidemic proportions]

I was thumbing through our cabin journal recently and when I got to the section on this summer’s annual family get-together, I had to laugh. We forgot to take pictures.  
   
To say things were a bit hectic is a vast understatement. All told, there were 15 of us, from age 7 months to 60-some years. The crowd keeps getting bigger each year and, at times, it was difficult to remember who was sleeping where.
    
Fifteen is a crowd. I thought my cabin and bunkhouse were quite sizable. But to accommodate everyone, I had to haul over my RV so we could sleep five more people.
   
We had eight adults, five teenagers (three grandchildren and two friends), two younger grandsons (a toddler and an infant), and six dogs. Lucky they all got along!
   
If you’ve ever had a cabin full of guests, you know that the biggest bottleneck is the bathrooms. We had three available and they were almost always occupied. Next time, I may rent a couple of Porta-Potties.  
   
Another challenge is feeding everyone all day long. Fortunately, my wife is an absolute genius at this, effortlessly turning out meals that are delicious and heartily appreciated. The favorite? You should see how quickly her chicken and dumpling soup disappears!
    
Having fun. We had no trouble keeping busy for the 12 days we were together. The weather was hot, so during the day we did a bit of canoeing, paddle boating, swimming, water-skiing and tubing. Blueberries and wild raspberries were in season, so that made for easy pickings (and great desserts). There was plenty of time for long walks and just generally enjoying the scenery. But you know what they say about all play ...
    
Putting them to work. The crew got ambitious one day and stained the gazebo from top to bottom. That’s one thing I enjoyed crossing off my to-do list – and I didn’t have to lift a finger.
   
On top of that, one of my sons-in-law got very ambitious (while the others were staining) and remodeled part of my fish house. A job well done.
    
Party time! Now you would think that after all that daytime activity, the evenings would be very quiet. Guess again.
   
Most of us fished in the evenings after temperatures had cooled down a bit (and the walleye were biting). The anglers often didn’t return until close to midnight.
   
And that’s when the night activities really began!
   
As a prelude to the big event each evening, the non-fisher folk would spend some time playing card games of canasta, hearts, etc. But as I said, this was just the prelude.
   
Around 11 (or later), a no-holds-barred canasta tournament began. Everyone would pick their partners and the games would go on until 2 or 3 in the morning.
   
I called these the The Low-Budget Las Vegas Times, because the scene each night looked like something out of Las Vegas: People intently peering over their cards while seated at the large dining room table, punctuating the night by whooping or moaning, depending on what fortune had brought them.

   
Same time next year? The days and nights passed much too quickly and too soon it was time for everyone to return to their everyday lives in locales ranging from Florida to Minnesota.
  
Next year we will do it again. And, if my cabin just had expanding walls and 12 bathrooms, it would be perfect!

Lars F. has refused the 12-step plan to control his cabinitis. Only his first name is used to protect his identity.
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