Is it Hottie, or Jesus in the snow ?
For an assortment of prudent reasons I try to maintain a modicum of anonymity on this blog. While I obviously feel free to express my opinions and observations, I seek to keep my personal details private and wherever possible use nicknames to protect the identity of my more than guilty accomplices.
Because I have shared more than a few of my struggles and my occasional successes in this blog, I am inclined to share some happy news. As Tom Petty mused, “Even the losers get lucky sometimes.”
Hottie and I have many shared dreams. Some of those dreams had been in my heart since I was a little boy. One dream increased in clarity following that rite of passage, a ninety minute timeshare hard sell presentation, in 2005. We walked out of there without parting with a dime but having flushed out what we wanted. While travelling the world and seeing different places is fun, our shared vision of vacations and eventual retirement included a cabin in very specific corner of the woods.
Our “Cabane dans la foret,” started to become a reality in 2006. That move was a leap of faith as we couldn’t connect the dots at that time. Starting anything that does not have a clear path to completion is extremely out of character for me. To reference my own comments we showed action and committed money to the plan. Looking back it was an absolute “Field of Dreams” move. I am proud of that.
In the years between then and now there were times the subject would only serve to create a knot in my stomach as the goal seemed at times to be farther away or even entirely out of reach as opposed to getting closer with time. There were times I was within a mile or two of our raw land and didn’t want to see it because the desire in my heart and the logistics of making it a reality were so far apart I knew seeing it would only depress me. Hottie queried me as to why I didn’t want to visit our land and I just shrugged it off.
The dream remained almost a secret in our hearts. My computer passwords often contained coded references to that dream. I know the zip code by heart because it was part of one of one password for a season.
There were dark days without employment when the dream was nothing more than an unspoken wish. There were other priorities and a cabin was rightfully farther down the agenda. Other factors that directly affected the likelihood of a cabin ever happening cycled up and down and up again.
Our vision wasn’t entirely selfish. We wanted a place to share with friends and family. The vision of children and grandchildren running around the woods has been in my mind since I first held little Zach over thirty freakin years ago. Holding his newborn son this winter reminded me of how long I have held the dream. The names Kyson and Sophie have figured into the cabin conversations between me and Hottie since they came into our lives.
As things began falling in place the situation still felt surreal. When something has existed as a dream for so long the transformation to reality is perceived with quiet trepidation. “Is it really happening?” We found ourselves wondering what could go wrong. Hottie and I asked each other, “Can you believe we are actually doing this?” a hundred times over the last few months. We have been giddy.
We all plan, prepare and sacrifice for that “Someday.” After a while “Someday” takes on an almost fictional status. On some level you believe someday will come, but over time we have all had a dream or two shattered and hearts broken such that our hopes and dreams become tempered by past disappointments. We become jaded. The image of reaching that “Someday” grows a bit fuzzy. Doubt sets in.
There were periods of self doubt and fear over more important things that weighed me down so much that breathing was difficult. There were times I could envision my future turned upside down and the thought of starting over, again, nearly crushed me. At times the best I could do was to go through the motions and hope the future would be better.
Still we press on and at least pretend the future will be good. Hope is a good thing. At times putting money away for the future felt like buying a lottery ticket. A lottery ticket gives you the ability to hold on to a dream, however unlikely, of winning for just a few days. The act of savings makes the idea of there even being a “Someday” grow in your mind.
When we bought new pots and pans a few years ago I boxed up the old ones and labeled the box “For Cabin.” It seemed almost like a futile offering to the gods on some alter decorated with trinkets and candles. When I would see the box in the corner of the garage sometimes I thought, “What was I thinking.” Other times I looked at it and thought, “Someday…”
Despite your fear and perhaps out of habit, you prepare. You put money where you can’t get to it. You don’t live flashy. We finally replaced Hottie’s car after she drove it for over seventeen years. I’ll drive the war wagon until it can go no more. That is the plan. We do buy some nice things but we don’t replace them until they wear out. I iron my shirts and cut my grass and we wash our cars in the driveway. We have done some remodeling at our place and Hottie and my sons and I did as much of that work as our skill sets would allow. We lived in such a way that if we got lucky, “Someday” could happen before we were too old to enjoy it.
As our Cabane materialized I can assure you it is not a fancy place. On the one hand it isn’t the place we dreamed of, but it is a place and it is ours and that matters more than its shortfalls. If we have more than a carload of people visiting there will be sleeping bags involved. If you want to take a bath instead of a shower you had better bring a bucket that you can fit inside. If you want a garage or carport; you can help me build it one of these summers.
We wanted to get a cabin in an area that we think is the neatest place on earth. We wanted a place where we could come and play anytime we wanted. Perhaps more than that, we wanted a place where we could bring loved ones and share what we think is beautiful and fun and maybe help them develop a love of the outdoors while at the same time strengthening our relationships.
So now that “Someday” has come what happens next? As soon as we broke down the boxes from moving in and vacuumed the floors we knew exactly what would happen next. As much as we enjoy the place for ourselves, our first instinct was to share.
What happens next? As Terrence Mann said near the end of the previously referenced and by the way the greatest movie ever made, “People will come, Ray. People will come.”