I cannot tell you how many times I look out the side door of the cottage, see this tree swing and stand there remembering my girls swinging on it, laughing, without a care in the world. Or at least so I thought.
Children have cares, lots of them, it’s just that adults tend to forget that, thinking we are the only ones with worries. I’m sure, looking back, that my own kids had worries and cares, more than I want to think about, considering they were living, like so many children today, in two families.
However, I like to think that from about the first of May until the middle of September, my girls had every second weekend, and a couple of weeks of holidays to forget their cares and worries and be kids at the cottage. There they could run somewhat wild, go swimming, play with friends, go for boat rides and learn to ride bicycles without having to worry too much about cars and traffic. They could learn something, albeit very little from me, about the night sky, and the pleasures of having a campfire, and of good friendships and clean air.
At the camp they also learned a little something about fishing, even if they didn’t really want to, having the misfortune of being born to a dad who was a fishing addict. They caught the occasional fish, and I hope they remember each of them.
They also learned a little something about shooting, having a Dad who hunts and wanted them to at least know what it was like to fire a gun at a target. They learned something about catching minnows in a dipnet, and about picking blueberries for supper dessert or just a snack along the way when they were out playing.
They learned how to row a boat, something that I felt was of utmost importance if they were going to be around boats, even if they didn’t get really very good at it….sorry girls…
They learned one very valuable lesson, to always check a float tube for leaks before you let your Daddy pull you around the lake in it….my youngest learned first hand how quickly a leaking float tube sinks, and my oldest learned by watching me pull her sister out of the sinking tube….(she was wearing a life jacket)
I learned to check anything that floats for leaks.
I like to think they learned something about the importance of safety around the water, whether swimming, in boats, or just standing on the shore. The learned about the importance of life jackets, even if I was a bad role model…shame on me.
Most of all, I hope they learned that those weekends at the cottage with them were the best weekends of my life, and I cherished them like a poor man cherishes a piece of gold. I hope they learned how a grown man would actually pray that he could stop time in it’s tracks, and stay at the cottage forever with his girls. I hope they learned to hate Sunday nights as much as I did, and still do….
The old swing is still there, and I sit on it almost everytime I am at the cottage, remembering those days with my girls, and the carefree sounds of them swinging on it. I have thought about taking it down, but even today it is the first place they head on the odd occasion when they get a chance to get to the camp, so I would feel kind of bad if it wasn’t there for them.
I also hope that someday they are able to see fit to bring their own little children to the camp on the weekends and let them run a little wild………they can leave them with me……..I patched the float tube….
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