The cabin lifestyle: those who appreciate it, savor it.
John and I had been good friends throughout high school. We shared many common interests, but it wasn’t until John’s family visited us at the cabin that I learned we were polar opposites when it came to one very important subject.
“Soooo, whaddaya do around here for fun?” John asked as we sat down on the wooden swing in the front yard.
“Every morning I go for a long trail run,” I said. “Then I spend the rest of the day boating, skiing, tubing. Oh, and at night we build campfires …”
“Let me stop you right there, kumbaya,” John said. “You lost me at trail runs. That sounds … uh … muddy.”
I glanced over at John’s dad, who was stretched out in the hammock. John’s mom was perched at the end of the dock with a book. Clearly, the fresh air agreed with them.
“Well,” I said. “There’s fishing, hiking, biking …”
John crinkled up his nose.
“We could take the canoe out,” I suggested. “Or, I know – let’s go for a swim.”
John ran his fingers through his hair. “And mess this up?” he asked. “Are you crazy?”
“Who cares what you look like?” I said. “No one will see.”
“Yeah, about that, where is everybody? I’ve spotted deer, rabbits, frogs and turkeys, but hardly any people.”
John continued his rant: “There’s no TV. No video games. Just a pack of cards and a stack of board games. What do you see in this place?”
This place was where my family came together to eat and laugh, to work and play, to make memories.
This was where we played cards, Scrabble and Michigan Rummy into the wee hours. This was where we built roaring bonfires, roasted gooey marshmallows and watched golden sunsets.
This was where we hauled wood scraps over to the fire pit, gas cans down to the lake and wet towels out to the clothesline. This was where we waxed the boats, re-stained the dock and de-gunked the gutters. One summer, we even dug a drain field for the new septic system. What a bonding experience that was!
What did I see in this place? I saw my family.
“I opened the windows last night to move some air,” John said. “But with the waves rolling in, the wind chimes clanking away, and the loud crickets, I barely slept.”
John’s reasons for disliking the cabin were the reasons I adored it. The soothing sounds of waves, wind chimes and wildlife lulled me to sleep.
“John,” I said, with my hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t think you’re a good fit for the cabin.”
It pained me to say those words, but the cabin is not for everyone. Some folks find the lifestyle too laid-back or the environment too rustic. Others prefer crowded shopping places to wide-open thinking spaces. And then there are those, like John, who prefer not to get their hair wet or their feet dirty.
However, I’ve also witnessed a number of “cabin converts.” These are people who swear they’re not cut out for the cabin but quickly change their tune after just one stay. Makes sense. I didn’t realize I liked sautéed squash until I took a bite and discovered it was scrumptious.
I think that points to a universal truth about those who appreciate the cabin, those who “get it.” Cabin lovers savor the flavor of cabin life, enjoy every second of delicious time spent there and always leave hungry for more.
Christy Heitger-Ewing is eternally grateful that her parents raised her right, as a cabin girl.