Whenever we can, my extended family meets up at our Wisconsin cabin located in a little town called Land O’Lakes.
My mom and stepfather are there every year from June through September, and it’s open to anyone who can make the long trek.
As far as these things go, it’s pretty remote; it’s a six plus hour drive from Chicago, almost five from Minneapolis or Madison, and even if you take an additional commuter plane to the closest regional airport, it’s still a good seventy mile drive away.
As all of my family lives on one coast or another, it’s really quite a yank — and time-consuming and/or costly when we are able to go.
Consequently, some years we grown Kennedy kids and families get up here, some years we don’t.
Sometimes one sibling and their family can make it, sometimes two families, and on lucky years, all three of us kids and their families make it here to spend time with my folks and one another.
And if the stars align, and we’ve planned far enough ahead, we all overlap with the each other. Three generations all together.
And when we do, it’s magic.
Pure and simple.
Happily, this is one of those years.
We arrived from Boston, Palo Alto and Portland, and as always, we were so happy to reconnect.
This year they were eight cousins, five aunts and uncles here (my husband had to stay home to work), and my mom and stepfather, known affectionately as Tootsie and Bubbles.
Days are spent primarily hanging out, and we are almost always doing one of three things.
One. We play lots of games, from the time we get up in the morning until we crash at night.
Lots and lots of games.
Charades, Poker, Black jack, Family, The Name Game, Champions, Go Fish, War, Scattergories, Scrabble, Monopoly.
And the memory game, which the youngsters win every single time. I think it has to do with remaining brain cells, which explains why I am so terrible at it.
Outside, there is football, soccer, and Spud.
Wherever you look, at almost any time of the day, there is a game going on somewhere.
Two, we like to use one of the many forms of transportation at our disposal.
We use them to go out for ice cream, find a new field to play on, or just to get to the other side of the lake.
Some forms of transport are newer models.
Some are older, but perhaps even more fun to toodle around in — especially when you are on the lookout for wildlife at dusk.
But no matter the age of the participant, there is always a form of transportation at the ready.
And three, we like to hang out on the lake.
There are many options here, too.
Kayaks and canoes.
Rowboats and electric boats.
This electric boat is called the party boat and it can fit up to eight of us at one time.
It’s great for cocktails and card games.
And then there is the motor boat.
Tubing with a cousin or a sibling is about the most fun thing in the world.
Especially when you start out slow…
and then end up going for some serious speed.
And sometimes we just sit on the dock on beach chairs just get to close to the lake and marvel at its inky tranquility.
And try to catch the sunsets.
Better yet is when you grab a partner (or six!) and try to catch it all together.
And perhaps for the only time in the year, I don’t think so much about what I’m eating. It’s all simple fare up here; markets are far away and too much time in the cabin kitchen takes you away from all the action.
Wow, looks like an epic storm is brewing, and with it will be my Internet connection.
We celebrated my brother’s birthday Tuesday, and we’re off to celebrate Polly’s tonight.
I think a rum drink awaits. And, if we are very lucky, another spectacular sunset.