The end of summer is ushered in when the evenings turn cool and begun to deepen, taking with it more and more of the daylight. Regardless of the date on the calendar, summer is gone when the Elcho Ice Cream Shoppe closes for the season. As that sad day draws near, our week-end trips north include at least one trip to Elcho. The drive itself is a joy as we wind past small lakes and across bogs on our way to the last of the summer time ice cream treat.
On our last ice cream trip for 2008, we took a side trip following a hand made sign advertising a Yard Sale. Imagine our surprise when we discovered the yard sale was at the former home of my second cousin, Allen. It has been five years since Allen's death, he and his wife Jeanetta were close to my grandparents. Allen was a favorite among my mother's cousins. His children and I have become closer over the years enjoying a bond that comes from an appreciation of our shared family history as well as the love and admiration for our respective parents.
Since his death, Allen's daughter, Karen, has become interested in family history. I know Allen is proud she has become the Keeper Of Everything for the family. Over the years I've been the fortunate recipient of boxes of letters and family memorabilia that Karen has discovered that pertain to my grandparents. Allen kept mountains of letters and notes and made numerous copies of documents and photographs. Sorting through the boxes and file cabinets is going to keep Karen busy now that she and her husband have retired.
The yard sale was the typical jumble of ash trays, souveniors from trips to various state and national parks, fishing rods and well used spinner baits. But it was the sight of a green wooden chair that stopped me in my tracks. I was immediately transported back to a time when I spent my summers with my grandparents.
When the heat of the day had passed and the sky was threatening rain, my grandfather would carry the green wooden chair outside and place it below my grandmother's bedroom window. He'd sit on the chair looking out across the western horizon, watching the darkening sky while I would turn cartwheels or look for toads. It has been many, many years since I have sat in that chair - I don't remember it being that small! - but it is something that has often crossed my mind.
We surmise that the chair made its way from the farm to Allen's when my grandmother had to be moved to a nursing home and my grandfather moved in with my parents. For whatever reason Allen took the chair. Thanks to his thrifty, never throw anything away, the chair has come full circle.
I now sit on the porch of our log home on the same piece of land watching storm clouds make their way across that same horizon and many of the same trees - matured from the time when Grandpa and I first watched the rain fall on them.
The price tag on the chair was $5.00 but none of my cousins would let us pay for the chair. A small price for a memory.
Text Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski
Photo Copyright © 2008 Al Scherwinski