Attempting to forget the past, “the world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you; it has turned your flesh into its own cupboards. Not everything you remember is useful, but it all comes from the world to be stored in you.” (Quoted from Caudia Rankine in her book Citizen) I found this past summer vacation encompasses me with a world of past, stored moments I will never forget.
On our 65th wedding anniversary, our entire immediate family, except one granddaughter, Noelle, who has been studying in France for the year, celebrated in the Anthony Manor on Seneca Lake in New York State. This “house” accommodated twenty people so it was free and open with space. As we drove up the long lane through a wooded area, a green lawn opened our view to a beautiful house. Another lawn and a beach in the front of the house overlooked Seneca Lake, a part of the Finger Lake region near the quiet city of Watkins Glen where tourists can see over twenty-four falls embedded in this hidden valley of trails. I gazed at this view over the lake with exciting expectations of an adventure with our family.
This lovely, rustic home furnished everything we needed. For water sports we even had life jackets, paddles, a surf board, a canoe, a rowboat and a kayak. The front lawn looking over the lake had a circle of Adirondack chairs around a pit on which we could cook food or linger at night over the burning coals. But the secret glamour of this place was turning the chairs to look out over the lake either in the morning, noon, or night. We could view the sparkling water from the sun in the morning and hear the ripples of waves pounding their devotion to the shore. Every member of the family could either dip in the water for a swim or skim the landscape on the water with boats. One grandson, Harrison, maneuvered the surf board across the two-mile-lake and back, a real feat. I placated my pleading grandson, Zachary, to join him for a charming ride in the kayak. I loved gliding over the surface of this peaceful lake at dusk. Furthermore, I had a chance to visit more deeply with this grandson.
Inside the house, one section was two-storied, but it extended on to one-level for seven bedrooms with a long hall. Each bedroom had a window across the hall overlooking the lake and the other window and door at the back gave a view of the beautiful lawn and a wooded area. The dining room featured an exquisitely long and beautiful wooden table with equally beautiful benches on each side to
seat at least eighteen people. The living room walls were filled with hunters’ prey of elk, fox, rabbit, and owl specimens. A completely convenient kitchen suited our chef for the whole week, a son-in-law who “claimed” he liked to cook culinary food for all of us. The food was truly superb. A screened-in porch was a favorite spot for reading and conversing.
An endearing week together with our family was unique: East coast New York and west coast Washington State came together; every morning each individual could do what they wanted to do; at dinner, we came together; as far as known, politics and religion were not discussed openly; sports activities enlivened the scene, but reading, puzzles, lap-tops, and visiting with each other were primary. Oh, yes, no TV all week. Our family luxuriated from routines, stresses and pressures; instead, we relaxed, refreshed, and renewed our spirits.