A little background on this post. This post is part of a manuscript that I have written. The story was actually begun in 1981 as part of a creative writing class.
Over the years, the story morphed, lengthened... until it stands where it was when it was completed, in December of 2007. All that in mind, here begins a story for you. Depending on the comments, I may or may not continue it after this.
October. I had just finished harvesting the last crops from my garden, and plopped my body into the lawn chair sitting near the garden. It was time to put the chair away. But as I sat, my thoughts began to drift, and they dragged me back to another place, another time. It was a time nearly 25 years earlier. It was a time of confusion, learning, and tragedy.
It was October, and I knew that my Father’s voice would soon be saying, “That’s it. Water's disconnected, car’s loaded. Does everyone have everything? It’s time to go home.” The cabin was being closed for another winter. I didn’t realize as I said my final, silent goodbye to the cabin that it would be the last time I would be able to say goodbye to it. The next spring it would be gone; becoming a victim of a fast rising lake, heavy rains, winter ice, and Spring’s ice-out. As I had done for many years now, I sat at the picnic table under the elm in the back yard, and became introspective. I began to think about the past summer. But this year, for some reason, my thoughts didn’t take me back to the cabin’s opening for the year. It took me back much further. Years, it took me back. Nine years, to be precise. But I went with the thoughts, all the way back to where they would take me. Not all the way to the beginning, but back to what would become a beginning of two special years and two very special summers.
The cabin had been purchased in October, 19 years before. My summers had been spent there for most of my life. It was my 16th full summer at the cabin. So much had happened over the years. It was here that I met Karl, Steve, and Diane. There were others, but nobody had made more impression than those few.
I sat in the warm Autumn sun. It was about 2 P.M., and my eyes began to flutter closed. I went with the sensation, remembering. After all, it was October, and things were closing for another winter. There would never be another time better for remembering. My thoughts dragged me back to the start of the year, then the previous year, and the next one . . . until I found myself remembering a very special time. I felt as young as I was in that first summer, and would feel a little older as each memory passed. It had always been that way, ever since the time that I established this as my ritual.
As the memories came, they were like a jigsaw puzzle fresh from the box. They were mixed up, out of place. But as I sat, they began to form a complete picture, a panorama of years which began 18 years before. Exciting times. Boring times. Things I wanted to remember, things I wanted to forget, and bittersweet times. It was the life I had lived, laid out before me like a road map to this destination. And it would be a long trip to the end.
I continued to relax in the warm autumn sun, allowing my thoughts to wander. Soon, they settled down on a special day nine years ago. It was the day I had met Diane and Karl. And the strangest odyssey that I had experienced was falling into place. And even now, all these years later, it still ranks as number one.