That Boulder

November 12, 2016

When I get upset….and try to enter a world of calm…..
 
I think of Forest Lodge…Burgundy Point…our summers from my  birth until recently….. in Northern Wisconsin….
 
 that  Large boulder…(2 feet from shore….on Lake Namekagon…. outside the one room…. screened-in  writing house my father built)
 
…that I use to sit on to watch an approaching storm…
 
it is to that I have mentally returned Soo Many times in my Life
 
 
 
the writing cabin was Not a cabin
 
just a small Totally screened in area…probably 12 feet by 12 feet…..with only an old rickety desk in it…large dead locust stuck in the screening 
 
 where one could get away from the Main House to go down to this beautiful lake side point…
 
to reflect on your life and look across the Lake to the Far distant side……
 
the Lake could be still ……
 
or stormy…..
 
black sky or blue…
waves churned up….
 
or smooth as glass….
 
This area was our First “picnic point”….where we use to build a campfire to sit around after dinner and sing those old songs like “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain”….or “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”….
 
and when I was  just a wee thing…my mother use to take me down as Dad..who would have brought down our old portable  Wind-up Victrola  and Uncle Dick  (my godfather)….were discussing politics or gossip as they enjoyed their evening cocktails…
 
and if gorgeous Aunt Mimi was over..they often talked of Teddi Hamm… of the Hamm’s Brewery clan ….who had a cabin up on was it Lost Lake…or Ghost Lake……can’t remember….but when he use to motor over to Aunt Mimi’s Forest Lodge….he stayed in the Guest Cabin….(a wonderful total logged cabin … that was more than what most think of a Guest Cabin to be)…..the Great Hall is a soaring cathedral  two soaring room …looking out through a window that takes over the West facing wall …..on to the old badminton court and beyond to where they use to keep a bear …when Aunt Mimi was a young girl…. …this was the 20’s and 30’s before I was born 
 
but Aunt Mimi always talked amusingly of how Teddi would come over for lunch  from the Guest House to the Main House wrapped in the Hudson Bay Blankets off his bed….with his Native American wife….
 
where 4 white Scandinavian maids  would serve them lunch…. at that Long Wooden Dining Table…(one plank of wood)..it could seat 20 easily…. on Aunt Mary’s Meissen china…Tiffany flatware……
 
…….the stuffed animals mounted above on the old logs…(plaster in between each…it was originally built as a hunting lodge after the turn of the 20th Century….)…glaring down at you…I remember a mean looking white  owl especially…and the skins that had been caught back in the 1800’s….
 
 
.my olders sister Daidie…(by 5 years)…did the “skinny man”…she WAS skinny….. dance to Mom’s old Favorite “Begin The Beguine” that was playing on the wind-up…those old 78’s….I’ll never forget
 
 that is a song that will always bring back memories 
 
of Mom…. Burgundy Point..Daidie..the click of Backgammon die.while my Uncle Sumner and Dad would play for 12 hours against each other non stop…go to bed get up…they are still playing…….
kerosene lights (we had no electricity)..the water pump that Mom would cuss at (all she knew was Gosh Darn!!!)….
once the pump started it would fill a wooden tower on high wooden  stilts….
when it overflowed we kids could rush out and push the metal strrp against the one spark plug that shut off the pump
…the Swiss cows…that produced all the cream and milk for Forest Lodge…wonderful Tony with his ruddy cheeks…would show us how to milk…and how he turned the milk into that Fabulous cream that had to be ladled out onto your cereal….the ice cream he made……
the two vegetable gardens he tended with a lot of the local boys…..
night side fires..in a pit surrounded by  logs we sat on…down at our Picnic point….
 
…with marshmallows…..(that always seemed to catch on fire .. the stick you were roasting them on…..you yanked them quickly off and blew the flame out)
 
as I grew older..well became more than a boy
 
……I use to go down to that writing cabin….and reflect on my tortured youth….and would write a message on birch bark…(there were tons of birch bark trees down there…)
 
I left every year a note meant to be found … in the  floor-side cupboard…..
 
 
and as I sit Now  in my mind…inside that screened in  cabin…
 
.looking at the boulder that has been there for centuries…..and across the Lake 
 
I reflect on what I have seen pass across those waters of my Life…
 
Black people —LGBT people…Women….given more hope and rights….than we all had in the 50’s……..
 
In this era of Immediate Communication……
 
Pause….
 
Like ourselves more…..Love our neighbors More….
 
And just Believe not only in ourselves but….
 
 in the Power of the Unknown…..
 
as I Believe 

That Boulder

Will be There Centuries From Now

2 Responses to “That Boulder”

  1. adelaidedonnelley said

    This is so very beautiful, deep and soothing Robby. And fills me with so many memories. I’m glad to have you record all these things for all of us and for Fin, Teo, Ona and Luc to learn of their father’s family. much love, xx d

  2. Richard said

    Wonderful story again, we didn’t have a cabin to go to however we did have m y Aunt and Uncle’s farm and the creek to wonder by–wonderful memories. Hugs R&R

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