After vacationing with seven grandchildren, ages 6 to 28, getting tossed by big waves in the cold water of Lake Michigan, hitting the dune buggies (love them), sleeping in a bunk bed and walking, walking, walking…I am back home, and all of a piece. Traveling almost anywhere purely delights me. This trip to Michigan became an all family affair, as back in the day. About 30 years ago, for about seven or eight years, dear friends gave us full rights to their house on the lake. It was totally ours for a week. There was a dormer room with five single beds, and five more bedrooms, some with two regular sized beds. Their largesse included boats, water skis, rafts, a pier, and a fully finished basement with a ping pong table. Quite a gift. When they sold it, everyone wore a black band for a week. Through the years, that family week symbolized for us one uncomplicated time of crazy and fun.
Now for a reality check. There was no Disney, no water parks; the stuff we did was cornball fun. But like a good story, these vacations got better through the years. The bad stuff got worse and The Legend of Herman the Half Man became a standard ghost story. You see, in my youthful imagination, I created Herman. He was my personal Frankenstein. Here’s the bare bones plot line:
Herman was accidentally cut in half by a motorboat. He was a mean, vicious man. He should have died, but the two parts of his body were never found, and people believe to this day that he swims through the murky waters looking for the rest of his body. If he sees an arm or leg, he grabs it, and only the lucky survive. A huge wreath of seaweed will appear on the water when Herman takes a victim.
Herman belongs to the family now and the story lives on. Yes, and all the adult children added to it. I think children love being scared to death. Every one of us looked forward to being together, I think.
So what happened? The family again met, set, and somehow overcame the obfuscations of our present now. We came on different days, and we left on different days. We used Smart Phones to juggle schedules and find places. Of the seven days, we managed to be together for four.
Our “rustic” cabin offered all the amenities: a lake, a pool, and a hot tub on the back porch. I watched my 21-year-old grandson sitting in the tub with my seven-year-old grandson discussing hot dogs. Interesting, yes?
Basically, we just hung out together. Nothing changed, everything changed. This little spot of time just meant being together. That was it. That was everything.