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Daily Archives: June 16th, 2013

 

Well, we just spent a magical weekend at my Dad’s cabin.

 

The hike into the cabin was something out of a bad dream… climbing a huge bluff, Devil’s clubs, swarming mosquitoes, murky swap water, blisters and trip hazards. It took us about an hour and a half but we made it. With three little kids, my friend and I hiked into the cabin without getting lost (that’s due to the awesome navigational skills of my friend Dean by the way) and survived the better part of three days. And, the best part, we all loved it!

 

 

I’ve got cabin fever, and I don’t mean that I want out of the cabin, I want to get back to the cabin! It is so peaceful out there. Otherworldly. The cares of this world are left behind and you enter a different reality.

 

 

I had a great deal of apprehension about my emotional reaction to taking my kids out for the first time and spending Father’s Day out there. Once we were close to the cabin and I could actually recognize the trail, I could hear Dean and the kids up ahead calling out “we can see the roof!!” and “there it is!” (I was bringing up the rear of this caravan) I started to break down. I slowed down, and even stopped for a few minutes. I could hear them yelling for me to hurry up so they could go inside, since they were waiting for me before going in. I told them to go on in without me and I sat down on the bench behind the cabin and had a good cry. Dean came over and took my pack in and I sat out there letting the tears flow. I regret not bringing my kids to my Dad. If I could turn back time… I would have worked harder to find a way to bring them to him. I have to give my kids their Grandpa through his legacy now. His cabin, that is his life achievement, his pride and joy and he is everywhere out there.

 

 

Admittedly we were very tired by the time we made it to the cabin. After a brief rest, some major exploring by the kiddos, we managed to cook some super over an Alaska bar-b-Que grill (a 55 gallon drum converted to a trash incinerator (this one used only for grilling)). My first home-cooked cabin meal!

 

 

Due to our late arrival, bedtime was somewhat delayed… we made it to the cabin around 10 pm. But remember, still very bright outside, like say, 4 pm Central Time. Sleep was easy that night even with the daylight. because everyone was exhausted. My Dad’s cabin has a loft bedroom above the sun-room, equipped with a skylight, it is bright up there in the summer time! It was cozy with me and three kiddos in his essentially double bed. There were feet everywhere! Because you know, kids can’t sleep in the normal position, they were upside down, sideways and in-between… and mosquitoes lots of mosquitoes..

 

 

 

We killed at least a million mosquitoes that night. Dad has this handy little tennis racket looking thing that zaps them when you hit them. We had fun playing mosquito tennis, until I broke it. We had to resort to bug spray and mosquito coils so we could sleep. All was not lost however, the racket was fixed the next day and we were back into the swing of things…. We have decided we need at least 3 more of those things!

 

 

Our first Sabbath at the cabin was quiet and restful. The kids explored again. They checked out the swing first, and the outhouse then off to the sauna and the garden and old outhouse. They looked in every nook and cranny in the cabin it seemed. We had an afternoon Torah reading time in the sun-room. It was pretty awesome. We killed more mosquitoes, consider it a good deed done for all of mankind. 😉

 

 

The rhubarb out there is amazing! Since there’s so much of it, we harvested a little and found a recipe in Dad’s stash for rhubarb crumble. I made a batch for dessert. There was something very gratifying to harvest and bake that rhubarb into my very first dessert at the cabin. I think my Dad would have enjoyed it, that is, if he would have let me make it in the first place. Dad was a bit of a kitchen hog, especially in his own cabin. We didn’t want to take too much (because we have to make rhubarb wine with the rest of it) but we brought in a bag of rhubarb so we can have some more home-made Alaska goodness here at the apartment. Oh, and we killed more mosquitoes. Do you know how annoying it is to be baking and having to wipe mosquitoes off of your brow? You get flour everywhere, and make a general mess of yourself. Which remember, in a waterless cabin you can’t just go shower.

 

 

Since the cabin was left unintentionally unkempt, we did have some tidying up to do. We swept the floors, washed dishes, washed windows in the sun-room and did a general clean-sweep inside. Even though Dad’s good friends Mike and Tami caught and removed two squirrels that had gotten in and tore up the place (and cleaned up their major messes prior to our visit), I still had a bit of a mess from those two squirrels, their poop: their calling cards were everywhere! And let me tell ya, it’s not nearly as interesting as moose nuggets… Before we headed back on Sunday, I stripped the bed and packed the linens to bring into town to wash, freshened up the pillows and blankets outside, and killed millions more of mosquitoes.

 

 

Spending time out there on Father’s Day was healing. Everywhere I looked I saw my Father. From his old hats and jackets hanging behind the wood stove (which still smell like him), to his initials carved in the table and garden gate. To his craftsmanship, knowing that his two hands built that cabin, peeled those logs, made everything that was visible, he is everywhere out there. His friends have made a sign and hung on the garden fence, which is very touching and comforting at the same time. Knowing that they come out every time they are at their own cabins and check on Dad’s place, take care of it, weed the garden, remembering him, all of that means a great deal to me. Dad’s true friends are still honoring his memory by their actions and deeds.
I notice.
And it comforts me.
My Dad was loved by many.

 

 

Sunday morning kids planted some of the seeds that Dad had bought for the garden right before his death. They put some of the salad bar in (raised bed for greens and radishes) and planted the row right next to the salad bar with some cucumbers. Tami has some plants for the rest of the garden so we left the rest un-planted. We watered the strawberries and raspberries too.

 

 

Late Sunday morning we packed it all up and headed out. Thankfully our trek only took us half an hour this time. Something about being rested and starting the day made for a faster hike than the one into the cabin. Oh yeah, and our packs didn’t weigh a hundred pounds collectively either. I imagine that helped a lot. We killed more mosquitoes on our way out.

 

 

Once we hit the beach, it was high tide. We hung out and let the kids play for a while. They found more agate, lots of mud and fun silt/clay to create with. I was walking and beach-combing when I discovered the unfortunate truth about the mud pits hidden beneath the sand out on that beach. Like quicksand, you are stuck before you even know it. Thankfully my buddy was there to pull me out! Nasty, slimy, silty, sandy mud in your boots is not a good sensation. Think of Quickcrete, poured into my mud boots. Yeah, it sets up like concrete too. Nothing like having to go wash your boots, inside and out, and your feet in the cold inlet waters of Alaska. Killed more mosquitoes, they seemed to have followed me down off of the bluff.

 

 

Finally home. Boy were we tired! The kids were hungry of course, go figure. But all I wanted was to take a nap. Now it’s time for bed and I’m wide awake. Ah well, good for writing!

 

 

While I was walking the beach I had some time to reflect and count my blessings. I have so much to be thankful for. Had a nice walk and talk with my Abba, thanking Him for all he has given me: my children, being here in Alaska, the beauty surrounding me & the ability to be in it, the wonderful faithful friends that he has brought to my life over the years and the new ones, my family (I miss my Mom and my Seester), and the life I had with my Dad. I’m thankful for each and every one, every moment, all the good memories. It was a good Father’s Day, a very healing one.
And a lot less mosquitoes!!! HalleluYah!

 

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They say the “firsts” are the hardest after you experience the death of a loved one, the first holidays, birthday, the anniversary of the death.

 

My first “first” is coming up this weekend.

 

Since we are most certainly a non-traditional family, not observing the traditional American holidays, the important markers to my Father and I were: Father’s Day, my Dad’s birthday, Thanksgiving, my kid’s birthdays and my birthday.

 

Father’s Day was always important to me, to send my Dad a card or gift, occasionally a call (because he was hard to get on the phone!). I remember one of the first Father’s Day gifts I ever sent to my Dad: A counted cross-stitch that still hangs on his cabin wall.

 

cabin.crossstitch

Cross-stitch I made my Dad close to 20 years ago.

This year, I will be observing Father’s Day in Alaska, but without my Dad. A little ironic. The reality of this hit me a few days ago, when I realized that I was planning on spending the weekend at my Dad’s cabin, and that it would also be Father’s Day.

 

 

The tears flowed.

 

 

I miss him so much.

 

 

Happy Father’s Day Dad.

 

 

P.S.
Even though my heart is heavy over my Father being gone, I have one very special comfort, the most amazing Step-Dad in the world. My Richie is an awesome guy. He’s funny, gentle, loving, devoted, a do anything for you kind-of-guy. The kind of guy that maybe I’ll be blessed to find some day. I will miss seeing him on Father’s Day this year. Know I love you and wish you a very Happy Father’s Day Richie!