The lake house.
Many years ago when summers were lazy and days were long, when dragonflies were plentiful and mud pies were in season, there stood a little house on a lake. It was a tired little house but always happy to see me. On the first day of summer until the day before school and every day in between I would find my way there. I was a mermaid back then. I’m Sure of it. I had more friends with fins and flippers then feet. From the moment I arrived in the morning till the moments long after sunset, I’d be in the lake, playing. Occasionally I’d break to prepare a mud pie or nap under the giant willow tree, The same one I climbed many times and fell from a few. I really don’t ever recall leaving the lake house and found out later that when it was time, I’d crawl into my nest between the 2 front seats of the old 1964 ford Econoline and fall asleep until we got home. Pops would carry me in and Mom would tuck me away, only to Wake the next morning and do it all again.
July came with anticipation. I KNEW when we arrived, on July 25 that we wouldn’t be going home till eve of the 26th. What happened next was nothing short of Magical. I would Go to sleep on my little camping cot as the lake house was barely furnished. There were Just a few essentials aside from an old stove style furnace in the living room and a rickety old table in the screened in porch. I knew tho, that when I woke up on the morning of the 26, that things would be different and was never disappointed. It was my birthday. Somehow in the night, the tired little lake house was transformed into a colorful glittery playground full of streamers, balloons, tinsel, party hats, every flavor of “town club ” soda imaginable, cake, treats and presents. Lots and lots of presents. All piled high on the old furnace.
It didn’t matter what they were as long at they were wrapped and I could open them. Sometimes a Barbie, sometimes a battery. Sometimes even school supplies, as long as they were wrapped. Then there were the children, so many children. To this day I’m not sure how they all got there because i just don’t remember any grownups! It was magical. From Start to finish. From the first peek at the glory till the last guest left and I once again crawled into my nest between the 2 front seats.
45 years have gone by and the lake house still stands. I haven’t seen her for a while. Mom and Pops are old now and Spending time with them has been my priority. Today, however, I visited her and she welcomed me as an old friend would. She’s been updated and remodeled into a beautiful little cottage but her spirit is the same. Silly? Maybe, but I could tell she was glad I came. No one had visited for a while and she knew it was July. I went to the lake to visit my old friends and somehow, Altho I’m sure it was many generations later, they recognized me. We sat and played together while the sun was setting.
When I went back into the house I sat quietly and closed my eyes and for a brief moment, I was back there.
The smells, the sounds, the excitement, the gifts piled high. The anticipation. No matter how many July’s go by, no matter where I am in the world or how many sunsets I may miss, one thing remains the same. I will forever spend my birthday at the lake house. At least in my heart.