Wednesday, October 07, 2009
In 1963, my father was travelling around rural Manitoba, on some business for an insurance agency he worked for. He was driving his very first brand-new car and savouring autumn's colours as his car ate up the country miles.
Legend has it that he drove home to his very own farm and announced to my mom that they were "going on a bit of a vacation". It had been a good year for farming, and he could afford to rent a cabin for his young family of seven in Wasagaming; at Riding Mountain National Park.
That's five years before I was so much as a twinkle in my papa's eye. The family swelled to ten- five daughters and three sons. Our autumn trip up to Clear Lake remained pretty well consistent throughout. Now we number thirty plus people- some years we rent five cabins; some years three. Our traditions have evolved and grown and shifted with the years.
The marsh walk.
"Red Light; Green light" with my brother Wally.
Walks to the pier.
Endless swimming in the pool.
Walks to deep bay.
Endless hours at the playground.
Uncle Mel's trail mix.
Scrabble, monopoly, and chess.
My dad turned eighty-seven this summer.
He was younger than I am now when this tradition first began, and I think of it all now from the angle of being a young, busy, easily distracted parent of a busy and demanding band of children.
He couldn't have known what he'd first begun back in 1963.
Remarkable, isn't it?
(ever wonder what you're doing "right" as a parent? Perhaps we'll be surprised....)