A Look Back

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December 1994

My Stories

Mother of all Road Trips-1

Mother of all Road Trips-2

Mother of all Road Trips-3

Mother of all Road Trips-4

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V


Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla


Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl



Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners


Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say


Middle School Relay

Grad Party


Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches


Old Faithful Inn


Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings


Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back

In the mobile world where most of us move so any times we can't remember our old addresses and phone numbers, our family cabin is a stable, unchanging refuge. For james, Liz, Melanie, Andy and me, McCall has been a lifetime summer destination. We've grown from babies, to small children, to teenages, to adults; we've experienced college, jobs, weddings and pregnancies. So much has happened, yet we all seem to return to our little cabin in the tall pines each year.

What a treat it is to see our own children now, doing the same things we did as kids: making "baby boats," setting raccoon traps. Sometimes when I am at the cabin, I can close my eyes and become a child again myself.

I can imagine Grandma Mararet cooking all afternoon, making huge meals of roast beef, peas, rolls, gravy, and of course, Idaho spuds. Afterwards we'd all pat our bellies and claim to have "gained at least five pounds" as a result of all this feasting. I joined in the ritual, despite being too young to understand what all this tummy rubbing was all about. Grandma's face lit with quiet pride, so I just kept on belly rubbing, along with everyone else.

Grandma's kitchen differed in many ways from ours back home. Even today, when I open one of the cabin's tiny kitchen drawers, the smell reminds me of the candy bars which Grandma and Grandpa would hide for us there. (As far as I know, a candy bar never crossed our Salem threshold, much less made its way into any drawers.)

I can picture Grandpa Rudd sitting on the couch with his Idaho Statesman, for which he faithfully drove into town early each morning. I see him adjusting his hearing aid, in order to tell fantastic stories to eager grandchildren, gathered at his knee. I hear how Grandpa used to jump the trains, and how a conductor once shot at him, leaving a bullet hole through the top of his hat. Or about his days at Yellowstone Park, where grizzly bears attacked unsuspecting campers. Grandpa's stories were full of true-life adventures which we kids found facinating, stories my mother would never have told us.

Mom's car never seeemed to start at McCall. I see her out front, turning the key, nothing happening. It might have had something to do with Grandpa's auto maintenance lessons for our eldest brother. James got to do cool stuff, like learning how to keep a car from being hot-wired. With just a few tugs on a wire or plug, our cars were safe from theft. (Nevermind that the greatest crime in town was phone booth vandalism.) Eventually, Grandpa gave James the follow-up lesson: how to re-wire the car. Mom could once again make it into Shaver's for milk.

Unfortunately, we can't remain as children forever. Grandma and Grandpa have been gone for many years now. but, today, I still through Grandpa's hand-made screen door (subsequently repaired with fishing line) then the front door, found at the mill yard. I'm in the kitchen, which looks much the same as during our belly-rubbing days; this is still Grandma's kitchen. I turn toward the living room with its broad stone fireplace. Grandpa fit each of these rocks together, like and enormaous puzzle.... a large one goes there, a small one slips below. There is no fire here today; the hearth appears cold. Yet there must be a few hidden embers, because a warmth still pervades the whole of the cabin.