The cabin, complete with outhouse!

The cabin, complete with outhouse!

The only family vacation we took together (aside from the time Gramma and Grampa took us to Disneyland!) was to a little cabin in the woods in Northern California.  Gramma and Grampa had friends with a cabin, and we happily sat through the seemingly endless three hour drive to get there.  The roads ran along the walls of steep canyons, the bottoms of which tumbled with fast-running streams.  A small one-shop town was the final pit-stop before weaving our way to our temporary home.

I loved the shop.  Pickle barrel in the corner, ice cream freezer near the till, icy cool drinks in glass bottles dotted with perspiration lining the fridge shelves.  And row upon row of shelves crammed with everything and nothing.  Just the smell of that wooden-floored emporium put me in a holiday mood.

No television.  No radio.  No phones.  No electricity.  Whatever were we to do for a week? With Grampa around there was no need to worry about entertainment.  Every day we would go on at least one long walk (“long” denoting time and not distance) where Grampa would find countless things to point-out and explain.  Ant lions, blue jays, rattlesnakes.  Grampa took time to point out how fascinating every thing in creation is. And we would follow him, walking sticks in hand (me with a hippie “sweatband” across my forehead) trying to traverse the woods with as much stealth as possible.

Grampa awakened in each of us a love for and interest in nature.

Off we went, dutifully following our guide and nature-expert.

Off we went to explore the great outdoors.