The Last Get-Together at the Cottage on the Beach

sunset

While I’m still in the process of consolidating the Files and giving it a make-over, I decided to share this poem I put together. It was based on childhood memories I had spending it at a cottage on the north shore of a major lake in Iowa. It was owned by my great-aunt and featured a beach and a sun-room overlooking the water, where we spent half our time; the other half was in the water. And having a couple cousins, we entertained her and her guests as we grew up. This poem is dedicated in her memory for after 94 years, she decided it was time to sail off into the sunset to meet the rest of her family who had preceeded her- namely her parents, her five siblings (including my grandmother), and many close friends she knew in school, church and in other social gatherings.  It was my pleasure having spent my summers with her and my trips to the Seas in the north of Germany will be a reminder of the times I enjoyed growing up. So this poem is for her with a heart-felt thanks. ❤

 

Today is the day we say good-bye to a dear friend,

Who welcomed us with open arms,

Who met and knew many people, from places near and far,

Who led us through the cottage, a small place but with big rooms, like a kitchen, dining area and sun room,

Who offered us coffee, banana bread and kolaches, all homemade with a personal touch,

Who entertained us in the sun room, overlooking the rolling sea, filled with sailors, fishermen and swimmers,

Who had a large beach where we could tan and swim, the first two things we did when we came to visit,

Who would have thought that the cottage would be the care of someone else, after many decades and hundreds of guests and relatives?

 

Today we make our final swim at the cottage of our dear friend,

Who taught us how to swim,

Who showed us the right way to snorkel,

Who had a half dozen inner-tubes and showed us how to balance them,

Who kept our large collection of shiny rocks we found, while underwater for many hours,

Who was very creative in offering us things we need to build a sand castle, like buckets, shovels, glasses and pans,

Who owned the oldest footbath in the region for us to clean our feet,

Who offered chairs and shade for us to sit and relax.

Who would have thought that today, our place to swim is at a waterpark, with plastic slides, ceramic swimming pools and red-suited life guards, watching like a hawk to ensure that the many visitors behave themselves?

 

Today we have our final potluck brunch at the cottage of our dear friend

Who always had it in the sun room overlooking the sea,

Who always made home-cooked meals from generations of family recipes

Who always encouraged us to bring our homemade food to share with others

Who was laden with five-course meal for an average of 20 people, like deviled eggs, homemade hamburgers, potato salad- or any salad, every platter possible, including the pastries; with punch, coffee and ginger ale, our favorites to drink,

Who started off with the Lord’s Prayer, thanking Jesus before we feasted: Bless us oh Lord in the gifts you gave us and help us help those in need, those we love the most,

Who allowed us to eat and entertain ourselves, sharing stories, jokes and testimonials- no politics or debates, no facebook to distract us, no insults and verbal spats,

Who enjoyed every story in the lives of the people she loved dearly- siblings, children and grand-children alike.

Who would have thought today that our family is stretched out too thin- living in faraway places, having little contact except on the internet, and not having time to even say hi to our loved ones?

 

Today we play our final card game at the cottage of our dear friend

Who taught us how to play farkle,

Who showed us how to poker-face in poker,

Who taught us when to show the cards in Rummy,

Who encouraged us to win the race in cribbage,

Who showed us how to go-fish.

Who would have thought today that all our games could be played online, while missing out on personal reactions that are funny and priceless?

 

Today is our final bonfire at the beach of the cottage of our dear friend

Who showed us how to roast sausages without burning them,

Who showed us how to make smores with marshmallows and Hershey’s,

Who showed us how to pop every corn made by Orville Redenbacher,

Who showed us how to cover fruit in a chocolate fountain,

Who showed us how to have the greatest time at her cottage.

Who would have thought today that we would never experience them with our children as our dear friend had to move on, growing older by the year and knowing that the time has come to say her good-byes to the hundreds she met along the way-

Hundreds including us and personally, me.

 

Tonight will be our final night to camp at the beach of the cottage of our dear friend

Who allowed us to sleep on the sands of the beach

Who allowed us to watch the fireworks go off on an important holiday

Who allowed us to look into the stars at night and dream

Who allowed us to become who we are because

We spent all our summers at the cottage.

Who would have thought that after all these years we still remember our dear friend, her cottage and all the great times we had there?

 

We still do.  And we still will remember these times as the best.

 

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