Monday, July 26, 2010

One day, one dream.

This year was number twenty-four for me, but it's been going on far longer.

I attended my first "cabin party" at age twenty-four, accompanying my unsuspecting future wife and mother of our children. Back in 1987, I was simply Terri's new boyfriend, coming out to meet her friends from college. In those days, our gathering encompassed a lean, well-scrubbed collection of recent college graduates, and some still attending school, eager to get its kegger on.

Couples and friends pitched tents in the expansive field leading out to Hood's Point, a majestic peninsula along Puget Sound's Hood Canal, in the shadow of the Olympic Range.

If heaven = unbridled beauty and unbridled beauty = pie, then the cabin party setting is one whopping slice of heaven pie. The bald eagle, the seal, the starfish and the crab share in the gala—but enough about people's nicknames.

The day passes like a dream, where any direction leads you to a softball game, a beachside chat, a horseshoe pit...a friend. I equate it to human Pong, only no one has actually held paddles since the mid-nineties. As afternoon turns to evening and evening melts into dusk, the light morphs into an amber gold and the air is still and perfect.

What was once a twenty-four-hour hootenanny has evolved into a rich, well-seasoned, celebration of mid-summer. We all began as young, childless couples, our futures spread out before us. Now most of us witness that future through the eyes of our nearly grown children.

We've learned to cherish these times. This is Steph. We lost her three years ago to cancer, but her presence at the cabin is everywhere—I see her sitting in that sun washed camp chair or wearing that stray flip flop by the campfire. She is a hardy soul and whenever her name comes up, which is often, the words flow warmly and with humor. She was the only human on the face of the earth who could sway and groove to my lame guitar-chord strumming like I was a founding member of Phish. I miss her a lot.

Here's to friends.

Here's to family.

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