Ode to Cushman

Alan Jackson, When God Paints

Many sleeps in the A-frame of our family cabin I dreamt …the comfort of the hustle and bustle below. Hearing Grandpa and Grandpa chatter, Grandpa sitting like a silhouette in front of the wall of windows rocking in a chair, coffee in hand. Every morning I would make my way down that steep ladder like stairs. The wooden beams I counted when I couldn’t sleep. The slamming of the screen door, the totem on the deck, the enveloping smells of comfort food, the view from that wall of windows to the lake, the crackling from the fire place, and Louis L’Amour paperbacks lined a shelf at the end of the room.

This place was like no other, built by hand by the Carroll James Martin family, a labor of love. A piece of heritage that some day would be steadfast long after the love it was built upon….the marriage that made it through the hammering, nails, windows, injury, cement, and wooden beams. The rich family history seeped from the walls when you entered.

Frequent trips to this magical family cabin; love, laughter, tears, joy, and the feeling that we were this tight knit interwoven family that nothing could break us.  This place I always felt love in…felt everyone within those walls loved me and I them.  Yes, I got in trouble within those walls, probably broke a glass or two, the time I spilt milk across the dinner table….despite my youth and at 39 now, the memory of our cabin burns like fire in the corners of my mind.

For me, Grandpa was strong, sometimes short tempered but so kind. He would melt every time he embraced any one of his grandchildren.  “Hey girl, how’d you sleep?” He rubbed his cheek against mine, coffee on his breath and squeezed like he’d never let go.

Grandma in the kitchen buzzing like a bee, her light blue night dress and slippers, I would always go to her next. Hugging her was like being wrapped in a warm soft cloud.  Sunny days were always special lake days.  And oh, that long wooden dock.  I miss the way it felt under my feet, slivers and all. Long days drew large appetites with a table fit for kings, mini bagels, orange juice, toast–there was so much food everywhere…filling our bellies full with tasty treats and a lot of love. Grandma’s smile will always be easy to remember.

Today, nearing publication of my first book. Her letters and encouragement for me to write and never stop writing make the tears flow. She wrote, “Tom had that gift too. You have so much to share with the world. Keep writing,” those words rest on a card in a box with most of the cards she wrote to me, in my night stand. An old grey shoe box that holds grandpa’s letters too…written a long their travels, handwriting hard to read, but stories and stories of different places they visited in their airstream.

This cabin, still feels like our cabin…I have visited too few times as I have gotten older and I can feel myself still there. Laying on the couch sun shining though the windows  carrying me to a warm cat nap. This place is a home because of the people who are in it, I need to go back, let my kids feel what I felt there.  Show my husband it’s beauty and bring them to this magical place filled with family, happiness, and hertiage-aunts, uncles and cousins that have carried on and kept our cabin alive. Rich in love and memories, a tall A-frame steadfast love still bleeding family deep in the wooden beams.





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