Today, we’re going to my Nanny and Poppy’s cottage.
This is the epitome of the cottage experience. Many miles off any regularly used road, on a back lake small and sheltered enough to very rarely be so rough that a boater would not venture out.
As you turn off the highway, the flea market is on the right. Full of musty books and cracked mirrors. People wandering around, searching for that lost treasure.
Continuing down the road, the trees creeping in on the sides of the road. My brother and I reach our arms lazily out the window, hands moving as if over waves. The branches seem close enough, but never brush our outstretched fingers.
The house on the left with all the painted plywood people cut out. The silhouette of the man waving, the woman with the red dress and white polka-dots bent over in the garden.
The farm on the right with the long driveway. White wooden fences surrounding the emerald green pastures. I imagine myself riding my beautiful dapple grey, Chief, around the fields. “I’m going to live there someday”, I tell my Mom.
“It will be a long drive in the winter”, she always replies.
The little house with the piles of wood. It always looks as though no one lives here. It looks abandoned, having fallen into such disrepair that there is a trailer parked beside it. I imagine that the owners live in that instead of the house.
This road is fun. It mimics a roller coaster with its undulations and it twists and turns. Mom is nervous, as she always is at this part of the trip. The road is narrow, and at many points, the sides drop away into streams and steep embankments. No guard rails have yet been installed. My brother and I spur Dad to drive faster over the hills. As the road drops sharply away from the apex, the feeling of reduced gravity causes our stomachs to jump. We throw our hands in the air and mimic a roller coaster. “Wheeeeeeee!!!” Mom’s knuckles are white on the armrest.
Past the Hickey’s farm. Mrs Hickey sits in the window of the rickety sunporch. I wonder why a woman that old would want to live all alone so far from any town.
I guess she isn’t scared of anything, much like all old farm wives.
Another quick left and the road is only wide enough for our car. Grass grows down the middle of the lane, and the sand and rock have become saturated with a deeper brown than the regular sand. Now we can literally touch the branches. I grab handfuls of leaves as we continue down the lane.
Stay left at the fork.
The spring where all the cottagers go to bottle the crisp, cool water that runs from the rocks. The spring that never stops flowing. Ferns grow at its edge, tickling the stream as it flows down the hill, wandering through the woods towards the bay.
As we descend the final hill, my heart starts to race. We’re nearly there! The exposed rocks jutting through the grass, countless forts and hiding places where we will disappear for hours on end, no-one worried, no-one looking for us.
In the driveway… the little white sided cottage with the red deck surround. The front yard slopes to the water, birdhouses freckle the yard, the boat rubs gently against the dock, quiet bumps caused from the rippling wake of a passing boat.
Let the holidays begin.
Nan and Pop are both gone now, and the cottage with them. I will always remember the drive to that special place. That little piece of heaven on the little bay with the rolling hills will remain in my heart. I will remember it by heart.
This post is brought to you by RemembeRED – a memoir meme
“This week, as the school year is wrapping up and we’re on the cusp of summer, we’ve decided to go easy on you.
We want to know what, from your childhood, do you still know by heart?”