I have maintained a love affair for more than 20 years now, and my wife of 17 years is totally cool with it.
In fact, my wife facilitated this relationship. Introduced it into my life long ago. Perhaps more accurately, if I am being honest, the object of my desire is not mine alone. My entire family is in love. We all swoon smitten at this time of year, every year.
We’ve just begun our 22nd or 23rd summer stint in Chatham, Massachusetts. Albeit this one abbreviated. Cut in-half due to a Cooperstown baseball tournament last week. So we’ll be jamming 2 weeks-worth of our traditional must-see and and must-do activities into a single week.
The jamming has already begun, though we’ve been in Chatham for only about 15 hours.
Within one hour of pulling into the driveway, we shot off to Schoolhouse Pond. A quick dip before dinner. The pond is typically empty at 6pm. The charmingly inattentive lifeguards have abandoned their high chair. Multi-generational families that gathered earlier around beach umbrellas with their feet dug into the sand have, by now, departed for dinner.
So we had the place essentially to ourselves. The turtle. The sunken row boat. The small small-mouthed bass. The epic snake versus frog battles. The world’s best skimboard runway. The most perfect SUP spot. All of it.
But most of that checklist will have to wait. Simply not do-able in a five-minute visit.
My sons both fairly sprinted into the slightly chilly water, their older cousin a little more reluctant because, well, she is older. Their manic dip is brief.
The humongous snapping turtle refused to make an appearance. Presumably he was fatigued from a typical, full day of harassment at the hands of reasonably well-meaning pre-teens. Some day he’ll take a finger or big toe, I’m sure of it. But it won’t be one of ours, at least not on this day.
I take a short swim myself, just beyond the buoys that mark the area of the town’s legal liability. I glance off towards the opposite shore. I know the rowboat is out there. Submerged maybe 15 feet under. Waiting for me and one particular nephew to zero in on its always elusive location, then dive down through the blackness, tapping its bow before scrambling back to the surface and gasping for air. But I won’t renew that particular tradition today, either.
Time to get back.
And so, before it really even gets started, I reeled them back in. I’m the responsible adult, after all, and it’s time to get back for dinner.
But not before one last photo capturing my youngest. Trailing behind his brother and cousin. Not wanting to leave Schoolhouse Pond, but knowing we’ll be back. And back. And back.
After all, we’ve got two weeks to jam into one.
Thanks for reading.