Friday, June 15, 2018
Today I am grateful for a vacation memory. After my debacle with Verizon on Wednesday I decided to take a mental health day on Thursday. What does that mean? I’m retired, aren’t I? Isn’t every day a mental health day? Nope. Not by far.
There are always tasks that need completing or errands that need to be run. Himself golfs on Thursdays so it is the absolute only occasion when I have the house all to myself. I hate to waste the quiet time going out. I toyed with the idea of the 8:45 water aerobics class, but decided to linger over breakfast instead. Then I thought I’d go to the deep water class at 10:40, but it was so beautiful outside when I deadheaded plants that I decided to read my book on the patio. In the morning, which I almost never do.
But who reads every minute when they are outside? Certainly not me. I decided early on, when it appeared that the lawn service folks would be working that day, that no one or nothing was going to annoy me. Nothing. And it didn’t.
Because I wasn’t in Pennsylvania on my tiny patio. I was in Vermont, near Swanton at a great “Dirty Dancing” type-but-with-more-class-resort we used to take the kids to, The Tyler Place. You know those vacations where you’re schlepping the bored kids around all over and everyone gets hot, testy and cranky until you wonder why you’re spending the money? That is the opposite of The Tyler Place.
We’d pay the money for our favorite cabin, Bluebill, throw the suitcases and kids in the car and when we got there we’d barely see them until it was time for them to go to bed at night. And they’d be happy. . .even as teenage boys. . .maybe especially as teenagers because who knows what manner of mischief they got away with by then? Not me! And I don’t care. I don’t need to know everything. It’s enough that I see the raised eyebrows between them whenever it comes up.
The kids would go off in groups according to their ages and play baseball, swim, paddleboard, water ski, you name it. They’d have their meals with their groups and fall into bed exhausted every night, waking up early on purpose so that they wouldn’t miss a moment. No complaining. None!
Himself had a small boat and spent hours on Lake Champlain fishing. Sometimes I would go with him, sometimes I didn’t. In my recent Thursday fantasy I did not go. The kids were happy and out of the cabin. I had already hooked the huge windows up, slipping the bent coat hanger through the eye screw in the correct order so all of the panes hung overhead like a perfect, woven glass ceiling.
I’d take my book outside behind the cabin, which was on a cliff overlooking the lake, sit in the white Adirondack chair and read. The lawn mowers didn’t bother me because I pretended they were water skiers down below. The leaf blower was someone trying to get a fishing boat started. I swear I could smell the water and the breeze on my berm became the swaying Vermont pines surrounding the cabin.
I read a little, napped a little, read a little more, chatted with the lawn folk, pretending they were at the cabin nearby and enjoyed every minute of my vacation memory. When I closed my eyes I saw our boys young and rowdy at the lip sync contest. I remember their counselor asking if they could see an R rated movie because they had told him I’d let them as long as it was rated because of language and sex and not violence. I hate violence. He didn’t believe them. They were right and I gave permission.
I saw us in various costumes for theme nights. . .Mae West and WC Fields one year, Sonny and Cher-gone-to-seed the next. I remembered tasting my first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on the screen porch of the lodge, before they went national. I smelled the best buffet variety ever, were served three times a day and savored the nightly wine with dinner.
You don’t use money at The Tyler Place. You sign chits. I remembered the year that our bar bill was greater than our cabin bill because for some reason we thought we were big shots and went nuts buying “drinks for the staff” more than once. It wasn’t just us drinking up the inheritance. That’s my story. Honest. Hic.
I was there. Really there. Learning how to square dance. Watching a woman standing behind her husband, dropping her long braids over his shoulders as he sat and played a guitar. . .a perfect Willie Nelson! I remember sitting with a group of people we met after dinner and Himself saying, (though I don’t know how we got on the subject). . .“It’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Flyers are heading for a win. Out of the crowd comes. . .” and I, who does not remember even knowing this happens at every flyer game, sang a perfect Kate Smith rendition of “God Bless America”. Every word. Perfect. Every note. Oh well. The crowd we were with went wild. The people trying to play scrabble near us folded up their board and left. Sissies.
So on Thursday, sitting on my little patio, without pulling out a photo album, or playing music, or even trying to remember names and exact faces, I went back to The Tyler Place. I didn’t spend a dime and didn’t go to the one o’clock water aerobics either. Instead I rejuvenated myself. . .all by myself. . .immersed in a perfect vacation memory.