Ahhh…what can I say about my Dad and his love for the cottage? It is funny how much, I realize, that I’m sure I do not know. One thing for sure that I do know is that he did love that place. It was his solitude and sanctuary. As he got older and more set in his ways – OK – completely set in his ways – it was the one place that always was consistently and exactly the way HE wanted it to be.
It is true that pictures tell a thousand words. When I look through them, I think that they tell the story of my dad at the “cottage”. The early ones of my Dad and Uncle Bill when they were about 4 or 5 and sitting there smiling with Ann Sails, must be about 1928. They had some fine times with the Sails’ and we heard about them like they were still there long after they had gone. It was “the Sails’” place to us, until the Seguins came and became the new neighbors!
Much of the good times were told to us as kids, stories of people from our place and the comings and goings of the cottagers around the lake. I wish I had been around in the early 40’s when it looks like the building of West Sesekinika Road was quite a party. At least it looks like the 40’s. Another favorite of mine is a winter shot of a crowd at the village store all dressed in cross country ski gear, many are faces I do not know, aside from my Dad’s.
Who can forget the bridge parties? As I kid, I remember trying to fall asleep with company over, the smell of rye on ice mixed with cigarette smoke and the familiar sound of cards shuffling. Of course, there was constant bru-ha-ha’s and lots of “– what the hell were you thinking playing that hand?”
Through it all there were of course, the constant cottage repairs, maintenance, additions, deletions, decks, docks, bedrooms and sheds. My Dad always said to us that he intended to build a home there and tear the cottage down some day. So, when he did, we were not surprised. The building of the place was a communal event which many around the lake, I’m sure, can still remember. Everyone helped. My Dad mostly cooked, and served beer and rye. It took longer than it should have taken to build but, in the end, it was his place and he was so happy to have it finished. He took to baking as a past time and would bake bread and oatmeal cookies, then go to deliver them around the lake providing an excellent excuse to visit. The last 10 years or so of my Dad’s life were spent full-time at “the lake” winter and summer. His stubbornness was exaggerated by the fact that he was out on that island in the dead of winter, still using the outhouse, stoking the fire and baking oatmeal cookies.
I know that my Dad loved to entertain and loved to be at the lake. I’m sure there are many other people who could tell stories of “adult” things that happened there, but as one of his kids, I was not allowed into that other life. From my perspective, all I know is that there was no other place that he felt totally at home than at “the lake”.
Being away from the pressures of life is natural at Sesekinika. It is the one place that really never changed. Dad knew the rocks and the currents and the seasons. He had a long history on Sesekinika and a need that could only be found in this special place.
After seeing much of the world and living a very “exciting” lifestyle for a long time, Sesekinika was where that 4 year old came back to live and just be himself, by himself. It became that special, secret place that cottagers treasure. He will always be there, too. There is so much of him in and around the cottage. I know for me that anytime I eat an oatmeal cookie that may be just a bit too dry and crumbly, it makes me smile.