May she stand forever!

birchbarkToday was the annual Fin Family Moominbeach 4th of July picnic! Actually, those who do the heavy listing on hosting the party might prefer to call it the Mc Family Moominbeach. Or maybe they have another name for it. And that’s okay. This beach never had an official name, at least not that I know of, but it has been in the family (or three families to be perfectly accurate) for 80-something years. Ever since my grandfather and two of his buddies were young men. They discovered it on various rowing/hiking/hunting adventures and eventually got together and bought it. Or something like that. Offhand, sitting here in the Green Guy Cafe, I’m not totally sure of the details.

Their children all grew up here together and so did their grandchildren, that’s us, generation 3 or G3, if you will. And now we’re onto G4 and G5. I don’t *think* there are any G6-ers yet but don’t hold me to that. Anyway. I don’t always get up here for the 4th of July picnic. Sometimes we are at Houghton Lake on the 4th and last year we had a family wedding that weekend. And sometimes we are just plain home, hanging out watching whatever neighborhood faarrrrworks display gets thrown together. Or back in the old days, the GG might be having a faarrrrrworks war with Burke. Whatever.

This year we’re here and it was really sort of bittersweet because a lot of members of the G2 generation are gone and those who are still here are more obviously frail. I remember when the G1 generation started to get that way. I remember when my grandmother could not easily get to the beach any more and the older boys of my generation, the ones who were really more interested in cute girls and fast motorized vee-hickles and things, would leap to attention to settle her comfortably into a lawn chair in a shady spot. “Can I get you anything, Mrs. Finlayson?” they would ask. I was amazed.

Someone always decides to hit the fast forward button just when I’m least expecting it and I guess I could write a book about that but, like I said, all of the G1 folks are long gone. One of the best moments for me today was when one G2-er asked Radical Betty (another G2-er) if she knew what year the Fin Old Cabin was built. It is one of three rustic old log cabins that were built by my grandfather and his buddies for their young families to stay in during the summer. It took me a minute or two to figure out what he was asking and then a lightning bolt hit me! An official document written on birchbark by my dad, in 1924, when the Fin Old Cabin was built. It was *in* the old cabin still, framed by My Dear Uncle Harry, and so I ran over there and retrieved it and I would at least like to think that it was one of the hits of the party. At least it was a hit in my little corner. The Commander’s cherry pie? Totally snarfed up!

Wonderful party and one of these years, I’ll be a frail old bag sitting on a front porch somewhere being served cherry pie by my niece or granddaughter or whoever (and no, I don’t have grandchildren, sheesh). Or some nice young man will be carrying my lawn chair down to the beach for me. “Can I get you anything else, Mrs. Courtois?” A nice young man who knows he’ll never get old. Hopefully that’ll be a while from now so keep your blasted finger away from that fast forward button. Whatever happens to me, I hope we can all hang on to this old beach for a long time.

As for the Old Cabin? All three old cabins. May they stand forever!!!

3 Responses to “May she stand forever!”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I like how you describe the generations and how they fade away. (or fast forward) While camping, I realized that we were the OLDEST people tent camping and that most of them were a generation or two behind us. Yikes.

  2. grandmothertrucker Says:

    Happy Anniversary toooooooo youuuuu, Happy Anniversary toooooo youuuuuuuuu, Happy Wedding Anniversary to Bil and Aaaaaannnnnneeeeee, Haaaaaaapppy Wedding Anniversaryyyyyyyyyyyyy tooooooooooooooooooooo youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! ( you’re lucky I wrote it, cause I can’t sing worth a darn. )

  3. » Blog Archive » and the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air… Says:

    […] Pooh, and NPJane came over for barbecue on the 4th. Stayed up late to watch faaarflies or whatever. 2009. Moominbeach again. Fun times running after Radical Betty with her walker and oxygen bottle. A part […]