Ahh, the cottage.
Cue the loons, the rhythmic resonance of waves lapping at the shore, the hypnotic effect of the campfire and the time to sit on the dock with family and have a long conversation on a hot day.
Nothing beats it.
Our family cottage is on Rice Lake between Port Hope and Peterborough. I remember clearing the lot when I was just eight years old with my Uncle Bob Muir running the front-end loader in the background and my parents covered in muck and dirt.
You learn some hard lessons. Lesson 1 – don’t touch the green plants with shiny green leaves. That would be poison ivy. Lesson 2 – don’t go pee after you’ve touched the green plant with shiny leaves, because you’ll regret it like you’ve never regretted anything in your life. Lesson 3 – if you try to burn off the green plants with shiny leaves, don’t stand downwind . . . but if you do, refer to Lesson 2.
Ah, the memories.
We finally did get rid of that nasty stuff and our cottage was built in 1973 and renovated again last year.
Cottages are special because they almost always only hold happy memories. We generally arrive in a good mood and leave smiling. It soothes us, relaxes us and pulls us together as families.
Yes it’s often crowded and my two 6-foot-5 inch boys always wonder why THEY have to sleep on the pullout couch, but when it’s time to gather around the dinner table, all those worries disappear.
Meals are made when we’re hungry (no one cooks or bakes like my sister-in-law, Heather) and not a moment before. There is always time for one more beverage on the dock.
My father died too young to see all of his seven grandchildren, but he did see the enjoyment his three children derived from the cottage that he helped build.
That man spent hours and hours, first in our little aluminum boat with a 10hp Evinrude motor dragging us around on skis, then we graduated to a real powerboat.
A 1974 lime-green Larson with a 140hp inboard/outboard Mercury engine. It was a smart buy back then and still runs like a top! It is 40 years old this year and as we prepare it for winter each fall, my brother Dave, and brother-in-law Tony and I remember my dad and the hours of fun he and the boat have given us.
My mom had a stroke a few years back and lives in a nursing home now, but my sister Karen gets her to the cottage every chance she gets. It is a lot of work, with a wonderful PSW along for the ride, but it is worth it just to watch my mom wheel herself on the deck and lift her face to the sky to drink in the fresh air and the beautiful view.
And then it seems like every day ends with the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen. That was another good decision made by mom and dad – buying on the southeast shore. I just can’t imagine a day at the cottage not ending with skies of brilliant orange, red and yellow.
We enjoy the warm weather, the great food and even got to enjoy that nasty winter we endured earlier this year, but what I love most is that it’s a family magnet. It brings together the Osborne clan on a regular basis and, for that reason alone, I will be eternally grateful to my mom and dad.
From the Land of Oz . . . Guelph Storm draft pick Alex Tuch, a first round pick of the Minnesota Wild, will be attending Boston College this fall. There had been some hope that he could join the Storm if he signed with the Wild, but the NHL club has two years to sign him and are quite happy to have him spend the year at BC. The Storm could always be a possibility next season.
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Ahh, the cottage.