May 26, 2015

Summer begins: first trip to camp!

Canoeing at dusk

Every Memorial Day weekend, family members gather at my parents’ camp up on the river, setting up tents under the tall pine trees and eating their meals at the picnic tables under the old oak trees. My parents’ camp is a peninsula, a couple of acres set amidst a marsh on a bay that leads the river. We've got an assortment of small boats, including a bunch of canoes and kayaks, that we can use to explore the marsh. In addition to the small cabin that my parents stay in, we have a tiny communal cabin, where everyone stores their food and where the young people play cards at night.

The cabin doesn’t hold much — just a wooden table and benches that my father built and an antique refrigerator, but the refrigerator is an invaluable item when you’re feeding 25 family members on a hot summer day. The refrigerator has been failing for years; in fact, it was broken when we got it. The only way we could keep the freezer shut was to shove some folded cardboard in as we slammed the door shut, a skill that only some of us could master. Those of us sick of hearing the cry “Mom, come shut the freezer door!” were not sad at all when the refrigerator died completely. I’ve been wanting to replace it for years.

Last Thursday, I drove up to camp early to be there for the delivery of the new refrigerator. It arrived on schedule, trundled over the dirt road by two hard-working delivery guys, and I plugged it in immediately. It was exciting to see all the details. Shelves on the door! A freezer that works! Crisper drawers for vegetables! More than one shelf! We'll be able to store lettuce without it turning black. We'll be able to make ice cubes; we can have ice cream, even. We all kept thinking of all the luxuries we are going to enjoy. For the rest of the weekend, family members who arrived were obliged first thing, even before setting up their tents, to go into the cabin and admire the new refrigerator.

I took the photo from the end of my parents' dock -- four of the young people in the family paddling at dusk. I liked it better than a picture of the refrigerator.

20 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

This is a wonderful shot of family members out in the canoes. And I so enjoyed your story about the new refrigerator. Hooray for ice cubes!

Marty Damon said...

And out of the dark ages you emerge! Funny how something so basic takes on a whole other value away from home.

Anonymous said...

Your camp looks lovely! We sure take appliances for granted until we don't have them. Robin (Catlover)

L said...

So... All these years, I've never asked an important question -- are there bathrooms and showers? :-)

Congrats on the new fridge, I LOVE brand new appliances! I don't know when we'll have them again, since all the current (and around 16-18 years old) appliances in our house are working ok.

I hope that by the time they need to be replaced, we'll have the money to do it!

jo(e) said...

L: Nope. We have an outhouse. And we bathe down at the dock or by jumping into the river.

Birdie said...

Something it is the little things that can make a big difference. I remember my mom and dad packing up coolers and having to go shopping every few days because there was no freezer. There is now one at the family cabin and it makes it easier (and cheaper) than going into town.

jo(e) said...

Yeah, when I was a kid, we just had coolers and in the hot weather, it seemed like we had to drive into town every day to buy ice. I'm fine with sleeping in a tent, using an outhouse, cooking outside, and washing up down at the dock, but I love having a refrigerator at camp.

Gail said...

A slice of heaven, I think. Beautiful.

Andrew said...

How placid the waters of the lake are. Seldom have I heard such excitement about a 'fridge, and not even one for home. Maybe that is why. May it chill for many years.

Mwa said...

Oh you made all the memories come back of camping out with my mother's family in the forest. We don't do that any more. It's such a shame. We didn't have a fridge because we had no electricity, but I seem to vaguely remember we used to dangle a box of stuff down into a well to keep things cold. I'm not sure if my memory made that up, or if that was really the case. There was definitely something underground.

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

Of course, there's no running water, so the water to make those ice cubes will have to be transported from the spring...

Mimi said...

This makes our 50+ year old lake cabin with the tilted floor sound like a palace. We have a shower! We also love the "make do" nature of our place. But I am happy to have plumbing.

Barb said...

I am drawn into this photo, wishing I was there paddling. I hope the new refrigerator lasts as long as the old! This seem like an idyllic place.

Val said...

Ah! And I bet those were the tastiest ice cubes you'd all ever enjoyed. :)

L said...

Wow, an outhouse! That brings me back to my early childhood years and my paternal grandparents house in a tiny country town -- they had TWO outhouses and also a well and a well house (that was so dark and soooo nice and cool).

You must have some plumbing (that is, a faucet and water main -- since the fridge can make ice) for cooking, no?

robin andrea said...

A new refrigerator is a wonderful thing. Beautiful photo too!

jo(e) said...

L: No plumbing at all. We will make ice by pouring water into little plastic trays and setting them inside the freezer. Our camp is very much "camping." The refrigerator (and a handful of electric lights) are our only concessions to civilization.

Jeanie said...

I liked the photo better than one of the fridge too -- although the old fridge might have been the one to see! What a relief to have the new one.

I didn't realize I wasn't a follower but now I am!

L said...

All my life (in Brazil) I made ice pouring water onto trays. But my mom actually had these fancy ones made of metal with a crank up top that changed the direction of the metal thingies which made the ice come out. That was SO COOL! I wonder if she had brought those from France or Switzerland where my parents lived for 3 years before and I bit after I was born.

So... very cool, it's even more rustic than camping in campgrounds with all kinds of facilities! ;-)

jo(e) said...

L: Oh, I have two of those metal ice trays with the crank on the top. I inherited them from my mother-n-law, who must have gotten them here in the States back in the 1960s.