Father's Day weekend was spent hanging out with David's father, Ed DeLong, in a rustic tongue and groove pine cabin, built by Ed's Uncle Chaz in 1920. Ed spent many a summer there in Idyllwild, Ca. with his cousins, riding bikes to the grocery store, stopping at Strawberry Creek, picking the blackberry sized wild strawberries, dipping his head in the cold water to cool off for the ride home. Now, at age 87, he'd be more likely to drive his tiny red Smart Car around Simi Valley for beer and a burger. It had been eighteen years since his last visit so we decided to bring him up and reminisce.
The cabin was everything I'd hoped it would be: small, historic and uniquely Ed's. The main room was smaller than my bedroom, adorned with 50's style sofa, matching rockers, an eclectic array of magazines including 2004 Oprah's and dusty National Geographic s. There were two bedrooms, just large enough to fit double beds and a single bathroom, complete with exposed metal plumbing, ceramic sink with separate hot and cold faucets and so low, even I, at 5 feet in height, had to bend over to reach. When we first walked in the kitchen, it was dark, searching for a light switch, Jojo felt something touch her head and cringed, reaching up it was a string, she pulled it and turned on the light. A twig was tied to the end to make it easy to pull. Pans hung flush on the wall by nails over the stove exposing their well seared bottoms. Pine counter tops, stained by circular burn marks left from hot pots laid too soon on their surface, cluttered with spices, bread box, and toaster, framed the white cast iron sink, where Ed's cousin Diane said she bathed each of her kids as she was sure her mother had done, when she too, had needed bathing as a baby.
There were two mounted birds in the main room, perched in the rafters, a pheasant, most certainly from Uncle Chaz's bird hunting years and a great horned owl, of unknown origin but, according to Ed, there for as long as he could remember. My kids marveled. We shared stories, ate pizza that night and pancakes the next morning.
Sitting on the screened front porch, just big enough to fit 4 wooden patio chairs, listening to the wind pass over smooth dark bark of manzanita trees and pine, as stellar jays screeched, grey squirrels frolicked and my kids read, did puzzles and engaged in conversation with their grandfather, I felt the kind of contentment mothers long for; the kind that makes us raise our hands and cry, "My life is complete," knowing we've done something right, something special in helping them to know their father's father.