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Archives for : June1954

S’more of the Lake

Buck and June’s lake house has a great porch on the back where we spend our evenings watching the kids catch fireflies while we sip cocktails. A rounded stack of bricks was built just off the side for an outdoor campfire. One night, we cooked hotdogs on sticks over the fire and roasted marshmallows for s’mores. I was reluctant to let Daisy too close to the fire, but Junior poked it endlessly sending flames and sparks into the night sky.

June had a couple of old cast iron skillets like all of us and I decided to be creative and make my own s’mores pie one night. I layered the ingredients in the skillet and popped it into the wall oven. A thunderstorm started as soon as we were finished eating dinner and Junior was disappointed over not being able to have a fire outside. Steve made a fire in the living room fireplace and we ate the s’mores pie by the light of the fire. After the kids went off to bed, Steve and I enjoyed some snuggle time in front of the fire. This lake house living has been fun for everyone.

Baby Dolls

The morning light was a dull streak of gray on the horizon. I slipped out of bed dressed in my pink baby dolls and slippers and headed to the kitchen. I loved to get up before everyone else and enjoy some time alone. I grabbed my smokes, a lighter, and a towel, swapped out my slippers for sandals and headed for the dock. I sat down on the towel at the end of the dock in the peaceful, hazy light just coming up over the end of the lake and lit my cigarette. A morning mist hung in the air and crept up the shores towards the woods. It was perfectly silent except for the occasional bird call or fish rippling the water. It was going to be a humid day and my pjs were starting to cling to my skin.

I flicked my half-smoked cigarette into the water and looked behind me up to the house. No one was stirring yet and I was itching to take a swim. I dipped my toe into the cool water which rippled away from me. I stood, slipped off my baby dolls and jumped quickly into the water. I had never skinny-dipped before and the water felt soft against my skin. No wonder people enjoy swimming without those bulky suits. I splashed around and swam beneath the water to wet my hair. It felt so luxurious. Time must have sped up because when I checked the horizon, the fog had lifted and the sun had risen up to the treetops. I quickly climbed the ladder, picked up my towel and wrapped it around me. I headed back to the house, opened the back door, and stopped in the wash room to grab some dry clothes. I ran my fingers through my hair and headed back to the kitchen to make coffee and breakfast. This adventurous day deserved a bountiful breakfast of sausages and pancakes.

After breakfast, the kids headed to change into their bathing suits. Steve promised them that he would take them on a boat ride on the lake. I was going to stay behind and enjoy some quiet time and fix lunch for them when they returned. I packed the metal cooler for the boat with bottles of pop, an opener, some cookies, and bread scraps for any fowl that they might want to feed.

Down at the dock, Steve started the engine, waved, and they headed off on their trip. I walked slowly back to the house and headed to the bathroom for a bubble bath. I turned toward the mirror while the bath filled and saw a question Steve wrote on the mirror with my lipstick. My face flushed while I tried to decide if his question was random or not. On the mirror Steve had printed, “Dip tonight?” Maybe there would be more adventures in the future.

How to Use a Map

Mags and Harold are watching our house this week while we have fun at Buck and June’s lake house. Mags will stop in from day to day changing the lights and Harold will check the perimeter every couple of days. Nothing is going to happen in this neighborhood and go unnoticed. In reality, we watch each other so closely that we know what is going on in each other’s homes easily. Ahhh, the suburbs.

Steve packed the car with our luggage, the bags of food that I packed, the kids’ pillows, and all of the items that we couldn’t live without for a few days. The amount of stuff was staggering and did not meet the definition of “roughing it” very well. The children watched the changing landscape out their windows and read for about ten minutes before asking about the length of the drive. Granted, we had already discussed this same subject many times in the previous week without the time changing. Stevie Junior had marked out the route for the trip on a map, noting all of the roads we would travel along the way. Steve had Gus service the car last week so that there would be no surprises and we would arrive safely. It’s really only less than two hours from our house to the lake. We played a few games of “I Spy” between Daisy and Juniors’ spats about how much space the dolls sitting on the back bench were taking up.

Some time later, I was startled to hear Junior whisper in my ear that “we were close” according to his map. Apparently, Junior had been checking his map along the way. I thanked him with a kiss on his cheek and asked him to sit back down on his seat. I was considering the possibility that I had finally produced a male with a sense of direction when Steve passed the road sign for the turn to the road to the lake house. Steve swore in a low voice, turned the car around and headed back. I turned to let Daisy know that we were almost at the lake, winked at Junior and let him know that he was right.

Our woodsy adventure was about to begin!

Dads are Made not Born

My dad had a limited but long lasting effect on me. Reserved in his hobbies, reserved in his conversations, reserved in his enjoyment; but the effect spoke volumes. Junior made Steve a father and Steve molded himself into a dad. Fatherhood comes from the birth of a child; dadhood is different. I was ecstatically happy when Junior was born and marveled at his every look, syllable, step, and smile. Steve sometimes looked mystified. He could change a diaper if needed, but hated the container that held the dirty diapers for cleaning. When the diapers were really dirty, he would leave them for me to swish in the commode. I tried to tell him that no one enjoyed the smell of dirty diapers. Steve questioned gassy sounds, gurgles, and the reasoning behind using enormous pins on diapers to hold them in place. I admit that diaper pins gave me the shakes too but no one had invented anything safer to tie on those heavy cloth diapers.

I realized that Steve was a real dad when Junior got his first cold. Junior’s breathing was labored because his little nose was stuffed up. I sucked out the mucus as lightly as possible but it irritated Stevie and he cried more, which resulted in more mucus. Steve propped Junior up on some pillows and made funny noises and faces at him while ever so gently squeezing the mucus out. Junior even giggled a little. Steve was proud of his accomplishment and I tried not to be too offended that he had performed the process better than I did.

After that cold, Steve was much more confident with the baby. Dads play a little less delicately with babies and I loved hearing those chuckles from both of them when they spent “mantime” together. A generational shift is occurring with men. It’s good that they are taking a more hands-on approach to child care. I’m sure that moms will never be obsolete, but it’s nice to share the responsibility.

To the Lake House

Steve’s great performance earned us all a bonus this year. Buck Billingsley has been Steve’s mentor and boss for five years. Every year, Buck and June invite us up to their lake house for a long weekend. The mountain air is refreshing and June has taken me under her wing and given me great tips on how to handle the corporate world. I’ve spent most of my time at the lake tending to Daisy since it would be bad to lose a toddler in the woods. Stevie Junior spends his time with Buck and Steve fishing, swimming, and riding in the boat while the guys took turns skiing behind the boat. We watched from chairs on the shore. June and Buck’s children were grown and they are very tolerant of ours. June cooks like a great chef and handles making extra meals expertly.

June has a wonderful habit of insisting on a pre-dinner and post-dinner martini. She claims they have medicinal power because the liquor is made from berries. I’m all in favor of natural healing. Our trips to the lake have been fun over the years and I appreciate June and Buck’s graciousness.

This year, Buck offered Steve the use of the house for a week by ourselves. June had planned a road trip to visit one of their sons out west. I’ve been happily packing in my mind for weeks, creating lists for our trip. Daisy and Stevie are excited about the trip and Junior has made piles of favorite books and games that he wants to bring. I noticed that he also dug out his magnifying glass, a jar for collecting bugs, and his bow and arrow. Sounds like he has some fun of his own in mind.