I’ve promised to write so many times and yet somehow my time goes by and I never stop to hit the keyboards with what is in my mind.
Part of the truth is, I have been busier than normal. Also, part of the truth is, it’s been a very hard year, and many of the times I have not felt like writing, nor have I felt like sharing what has been going on in our lives.
With that in mind, normally I would do the year in review at the end of the year, but this year has so much to share that if I don’t start now we’ll still be doing it in the Spring. And as we promised when we started the blog, we wouldn’t keep secrets.
So let’s start with Closing Day.
This year we had two cottages to close as Julie and Gary returned home earlier last month. When they were leaving we offered to close up for them with the plan, that they would stay longer next year and learn how closing is done.
So in October, we hugged them goodbye as they sped off to see their family back in Minnesota. This had been their first time away from their family for more than a couple of weeks, and after two months at the cottage, they were missing family.
To give them credit, they did an excellent job for first-time cottage owners. They became substantially independent and tried to manage what they could without our help in a very short period of time. Along the way, they made many new friends and went out to discover cottage country on their own.
When they first arrived they brought with them their son-in-law Jeremiah and their little dog Ranger, who were both a pleasure to meet and get to know. Next year they will be returning to the new friends they’ve made and are planning to bring up more of their family.
Now, back to closing day.
The sky was cloud-covered and it rained a bit on and off as we were packing up. We got a little wet while were draining and blowing out water lines. Besides that, the day went uneventful. I spent a few minutes by myself sitting on the chairs before packing them away.
And then I stood on the deck looking at the trees in the distance. The leaves were now gone and the sky was grey. It seemed the sky felt like I did, grey. I hate closing day. Leaving my happy place gets harder each year. I usually shed a tear or two on this day. This year the sky did it with me.
As the Love Shack gets more completed, our cottage becomes a place to share with more friends. Each year we make more friends there and our lives expand in other ways because of the people. We also expand in our community finding little hidden places to explore, shop, and dine. All of this makes closing the door harder each year.
In my mind, I can still see the leaves opening on the crazy warm day in April while we were having a barbeque with the Warriors before they set out to repair the disaster we discovered in the Julie and Garys Cottage.
I remember watching the guys walking down the road heading for the demo and listening to the girls chatting while washing and cleaning up Winter from the Love Shack.
I can hear in my mind the conversations and the laughter from the many birthday parties, the three-anniversary dinners, and the let’s just hung out weekends.
The hours spent in the Jurassic Park Garden feels like yesterday. The vegetables raised there are still being cooked and the secrets shared under the stars are still secrets kept.
I’m assuming that because of the late season this year, that we were one of the last to close, or maybe we just missed each other, but we didn’t see any of our neighbors we usually talk to. Their cottages looked closed up. There was no laughter, chatter, music, or cars to be seen. Just the quiet that the end of the season brings.
I don’t know if I am grateful or saddened that all the other cottagers were not there. I really hate the goodbyes and see you in the Spring conversation. It only adds to the sadness of closing.
When we packed up, I brought home enough snacks, wine, and beer to throw a few more parties and think that maybe a movie night or two at the house will be needed for the Warriors just to use up this year supplies and of course any excuse to get us back together.
When the cottage closes up, we don’t stop seeing each other. We just have to plan it differently. So far we had a Halloween Dinner Murder Mystery Party and one of the best birthday parties for Earl, Jodi, and me that we have had in years.
Christmas and New Years will also be spent together and some of those leftovers from the cottage will get used then. When we are together we’ll talk about this past year and we’ll plan for the next year.
By the time Spring comes each one will give me their works schedules so I can balance getting everyone up for a weekend or two to stay. Other dates will be booked to have the group up.
The plans for next year’s construction are already getting planned and have been put on the honey to-do list and honey we hope we can do list. And of course, the cottage has already been given gifts and crafts have been made by the Warriors to be taken up and put in their new place for next year.
We had a wonderful season this year with most weekends booked with company. I have heard that there might be a camp out night next year with many coming with the tents so all can stay at once. I have also heard that there is a plan for a few more to come up who have never been there before. I’ve also heard that next year will be filled again with cooking, laughter, and love. I look forward to that. It’s what makes closing the door and saying thank you to our Lady bearable before I leave her.
I did mention at the beginning of this blog that we have had a hard year. I’m not mentioning it here but in our next blog which will come soon, I’ll share the challenges that the Warriors and myself have had this year. But for today, we are only looking back at the blessing that the Love Shack has given us. And she has given us another year to remember.