11 July 2013

It's a Fish! It's a Shark! Wait, no... it's just my dog that won't get out of the water

While we were in the Motherland for the 4th of July, Mr. Sweetie and I decided to take an overnight trip to the NH Lakes region to visit my grandfather at his cottage on Berry Bay. This lakehouse has been a part of our family since the 1930s (first as a place my grandfather rented and then as a place he purchased it in the 1960s). I've been going up there since I was a kid, but unfortunately my visits became fewer and further between once I moved down to Virginia. Growing up, though, we spent most summer weekends at the lake, driving up after my parents finished work on Friday and only heading home once dusk hit Sunday evening. Here's a picture of one of my favorite views in the world - I spent many a summer afternoon sitting in the hammock, eating a Freeze-Pop and looking out at this view as New Kids on the Block, 'NSync, and Backstreet Boys blasted from my Walkman.

View unchanged since... forever
The house sits right at the edge of the lake, close enough that if you were to jump out the picture window in the kitchen, you'd land in the water. The view is unchanged and the house is unchanged - right down to the clock that chimes every 15 minutes, to the newspaper clippings and business cards my grandfather has had tacked to the bulletin board since before I was born.

There are two rules I follow when I visit the lakehouse: no showers - the lakewater is good enough. And a bathing suit is perfectly acceptable attire 24/7. In addition - bring a good book, be prepared to unplug because  the internet and 4G service do not exist in Freedom, NH - and if you bring your dog who is addicted to swimming, don't expect to leave the beach at all during your stay.

We arrived just before sunset on Friday evening and Miles made a beeline for the water. The last time we stayed anywhere near a place that he could swim was during Ironman Lake Placid in 2011 when we stayed with my Aunt and Doug at Rainbow Lake. Miles spent the majority of his time there swimming and the trip to Berry Bay would be no different. Saturday morning we woke up at 5am (really??!!) to Miles doing his whining and excited panting - the pup wanted to swim and he didn't care what time it was! We were mean - like parents on Christmas who make their kids wait until after breakfast to open their gifts - and didn't take Miles down to the beach until mid-morning, when I got back from running some errands. He was in heaven once he got down to the beach - he swam after the ball, he swam after dragonflies, he swam after me when I swam out deep. He also spent a fair amount of time just floating in the water and watching the boats go by.

Come on in, the water's fine!
I managed to drag him out of the water for a hot second so I could go in the house and have lunch. He spent the whole time moaning and groaning like a gremlin until I relented and went back down to the beach with him. I didn't get him out of the water for good until after 4:30 - which meant he had a solid 6 hours of swim time - this also meant he slept for much of the next 3 days. It was awesome.

Nope. Not getting out of the water. I may be too tired to keep my eyes open, but I'm NOT getting out.
We met Miles' doppelganger while at the lake - my grandfather's very nice neighbors just adopted an English Setter puppy and she had all the same markings as Miles - right down to one solid black ear, and tri-color spots on her nose and feet. She was smaller because she's a girl and only 6 months old, and she was super cute. It was almost like getting a glimpse back to Miles when he was a puppy (only she was much better behaved than he was at that age).

It was indescribably nice to be back at the lakehouse and spending time with my grandfather. We watched a fair amount of Nascar, talked about the weather (even Freedom couldn't escape the heat and humidity!), and as always talked about the fools on the jetskis who whip around the lake (this is a very popular topic with Grandpa. And don't even get him started on the double-decker pontoon boats). I'm pretty lucky to be in my 30s and still have 3 out of my 4 grandparents around. Grandpa also has a soft spot for Mr. Sweetie and I'm glad the two of them got a chance to spend a little time together. It's never easy to see a grandparent get old - of course, when you are a kid, your grandparents seem old because EVERYONE seems old - but as an adult, you start to really understand what getting old means when you witness how much arthritis or any other health issue suddenly take over and make day-to-day tasks a big undertaking. When we left the lakehouse to head back home, it was bittersweet - it's easy to assume that everything will still be the same the next time I go up there because it has been the same for the past 30+ years, but I know you can't take stuff like that for granted. And it's a bit sad that we simply haven't made visiting my grandfather or staying up at the lake a priority these past few years because we've let ourselves become too busy. This was a good wake-up call that shifting around some priorities might be in order.

Love you Grandpa! 


B.o.B. said...

What a nice post. This made me nostalgic and miss my own grandfathers. Glad you had such a nice visit. Miles is hilarious! Lloyd wouldn't get in the water but he does like to "lifeguard" along the shore.

P.S. I'll be in DC for MCM. The boyfriend is running. Love to see you!

Caroline said...

Beth!! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! Childhood memories are the best, typically because we only remember the good stuff :) Miles would freak out when I would swim out far, he's do this little high pitched cry and chase after me, it was cute and sad at the same time. I think Miles and Lloyd would make a good team - one could guard the beach, the other the water!

NO WAY! That is awesome you will be in DC!! I might be out of town that Saturday for a race, but I want to be back in time to cheer for MCM so let's make plans to meet up!