The cabin was old and so was the couple that lived in it. “Grandpa,” and, “Grandma”, I called them. Like the cabin, they were a beautiful type of old. The type of old that is cluttered with memories and filled with love. The type of old that creaks slightly in the strong wind, not out of weakness but to acknowledge an old friend.The kind of old that feels strong and safe and warm.
The cabin sat on a hill, in a little grove, at the end of a little road that ended in a beautiful, maroon, covered bridge at the other end. There was another road that met this one right in front of the cabin. This other road cut straight through a pond at some point along it’s course. I remember because I had never seen a road that cut through a pond before.
It was the middle of my first winter when we went to see Grandma and Grandpa. The rivers flowed cold beneath the ice and the pine trees looked almost like klansmen with their pointy tips covered under all of that snow. I was excited. Grandma knew how much I liked chocolate milk.
We were in Charlie’s truck, the world’s most ironic truck. It had started out pink but he had changed the color to a dark grey when he got it. You could still see the pink on the edges of the doors whenever you opened them.
We got to the cabin late in the afternoon. I still remember the scent as we walked in, past Grandpa’s work space. It smelled like wood and varnish and hard, honest labor. It smelled wholesome.
Grandma came downstairs to meet us, even though we told her not to. She was short, with a slightly plump, circular face, ruddy cheeks and curly white hair. She wore a cream sweater and blue jeans. I had often thought that she looked a bit like Santa’s wife. She looked how sitting next to a warm fire with a steaming mug of hot cocoa filled with marshmallows would look if you turned the feeling into a person. She looked like she would keep the world outside the door and the warmth inside it.
Grandpa, on the other hand, he looked like he had been what a child would conjure up to keep the monsters at bay at night. He didn’t look tall and strong at the time but you could tell that he had been. He walked how the wind blows through a fog. He seemed to cut the air as he moved through it. His voice was gruff but also soft. It was the kind of voice that seemed not to be used much but to be used to great effect when it was. It was the kind of voice that I imagined could change your life with a single sentence.
I loved them both. My Grandma and my Grandpa. I knew that I couldn’t permanently make them mine. I knew that I had only borrowed them from my host family for the year within which I would live in the USA but I loved them. I loved their little cabin. I loved their little guestroom where I had sat in the old rocking chair and read Celtic mythology while listening to Passenger on my IPod. I loved the endless supply of chocolate milk and the fact that I barely even cared about it when it was compared to the family around it. I loved the biting chill of the winter on my skin as I walked across the pond and I loved the promise of warmth that stood in the little grove at the end of that road. I loved home. I only wish it could’ve lasted longer.