Thirty years ago my parents had a chalet built by a lake. As a keen fisherman this was my Dad’s dream, somewhere to anchor his little fishing boat and go off to recharge his batteries. My Mum understood his need for peace and quiet after a hard, hectic working week and agreed to the idea. As for us children, we had mixed feelings as there was only one kid living around, whom we became friendly with, but still this meant we could not meet our friends at the weekend. However, we did have lots of fun there, such as log fires turning into embers on which we would roast meat in the winter and swimming in the lake in the summer. Well, until I once picked up a toad in the mud, after that episode I was a lot less keen!
As I became a teenager the chalet suddenly became an interesting place to have a holiday with friends. The first time I spent a few days there with my best friend. The weather was not so great but we had a lot of fun, especially spying on the workers building the chalet above ours while drinking Coke and eating crisps! We must not have been very discreet as they spotted us and one afternoon turned up asking if they could joins us and have some of this Coke!
The second holiday happened a couple of years later, I went with the same friend and two others, and more visited regularly during the week. By then we were “motorized” which allowed us outings in the nearby town – do not get too excited, this was hardly New York City! – and made food shopping a tad easier. We had an incredibly brilliant time, being silly, playing fantastic games such as “The Flying Spider” or “Catch The Mice”, eating a fair amount of spaghetti and admiring my friend’s attempt at reproducing Robert Smith’s hairstyle!
A couple of these friends have drifted away over the years but the core group remains, and to this day we still reminisce about these memories fondly. When my Dad died suddenly in that very chalet five years ago, my friends immediately rallied around my family to offer us sympathy, comfort, support, well, their wonderful presence. This prompted me to organise a party two months later, gathering all of us with our respective children. Because I am certain this is what my Dad would have wanted, and because to play the same silly games – sadly though the “Flying Spider” was nowhere to be found – and enjoy the warmth of our friendship just felt right. It was a wonderful day.
We had another party the following year and that was to be the last one. In the end, being there was too painful for my Mum and, with our blessing, she decided to sell the chalet. I totally understand her but cannot help feeling a bit nostalgic at times.
More flashbacks here: Cafe Bebe.