About twenty years ago, my parents bought into one of those time share vacation deals, nothing really fancy, but nice. Each year they paid maintenance fees that entitled them to a week-long stay in one of a number of resorts. I’m sure they didn’t realize they were about to create a tradition when they did it, but that’s exactly what they did.
My living room, this past Sunday, tells a part of the story of that tradition:
Each of those piles you see stacked around on the chairs and sofa represents a craft we’ll be doing this week, up at the condo at Eagle Crest in Redmond, Oregon. I’ve been gathering the materials for days, and when it started to feel like one big overwhelming jumble, along about Friday, I finally got smart and pulled out some big note cards, wrote a craft on each one, and organized the items by projects.
Then I put each stack into its own box or bag, and Monday morning, I started packing it all into the car.
Our week at the condo has arrived!
The cast of characters has changed over the years. It started with Mom, Dad, Uncle Walt, Auntie Jewel, my husband and I. Each year, we women would each plan two or three crafts and assemble the materials and instructions for making them, and plan meals for the week, and on the appointed date we would meet at whichever resort Mom and Dad had chosen.
We very quickly established a routine: Breakfast, and then the women would head out to the thrift stores and garage sales, searching out the things for crafts that hadn’t yet been found. The guys would golf or sight-see. We’d all reassemble at the condo for lunch, after which the men would read, nap, or go out again, and then the women would craft until it was time to quit for dinner. After dinner, we might rest for a bit, walk, or ride our bikes. Then it was cards until late.
We’re a close family. It has always been a week of laughter, stories, the sweetness of just being together. Add in a solid week of crafting, and it’s such bliss that I start looking forward to the next one before we ever get home.
Last year was hard. My Dad’s brother, my Uncle Walt had died some years back, but we’d carried on. Mama’s sister, Auntie Charlotte, joined us. Then, two and a half years ago, Dad passed away, and less than six months later, darling Auntie Jewel. We didn’t go to the condo that year, and I wondered if Mom would ever have the heart for it again, but we put the week together for 2009. It wasn’t the same. No Uncle Walt, no Auntie Jewel, and no Dad. We added my daughter and granddaughter, but we didn’t play cards, and Auntie Charlotte had to leave two days early.
Oops. No Auntie Charlotte--she was taking the picture!
It took some doing to talk Mama into giving it another go this year. It’s still Mama, Auntie Charlotte, and me, but my husband is working hard on a remodel and couldn’t come, and the daughter who came last year couldn’t either. My youngest daughter, December, could though, so it’s four women, and a great, big, pile of crafts.
I am writing this on our second night at the condo. We are exhausted. We got up and planned our day this morning, went out and shopped (and boy, did we score some bargains!), came home and ate lunch (at 3:20!) crafted until dinner, and then ate a luscious meal prepared by December—Quiche and French toast made with apple strudel bread topped with real maple syrup or homemade blackberry syrup. And then we played cards.
Scattered through the day were stories, many of them about Dad or Auntie Jewel, or Uncle Walt.
Tomorrow, we will do it all over again. It’s a family tradition.