Aunt Janice and Uncle Gordon lived up at their log cabin for many years. At first, they were just there in the summer and for a few weeks in winter and spring.
Nestled in the forest above Lake Tahoe the cabin was heaven on earth to me. And I was lucky to spend a good part of every summer and all of Christmas and Easter vacation there with my family.
The cabin was often covered in snow. We skied and skated, built snow forts and of course had
of snowball fights. But it was just as much fun inside running down the halls with all my cousins, playing games, listening to cabin music and wrapping presents. We cut down our own Christmas tree and decorated it with hand strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries. You can get a lot done with eight kids helping. The sight and smell of the roaring fire completed the wonderful, joyous atmosphere.
My cousin Stephen and I shared a bedroom down the hall from the living room where the tree and all the presents were.
One Christmas Eve we were so excited for the next morning we could hardly sleep. We were about nine and ten years old and kept peeking down the hall after the grownups went to bed.
We hoped to sneak one last look at the presents before we turned out our light.
The lights in the living room were still on. We could just see the back of Aunt Janice's head as she sat in one of the red leather chair facing the fireplace.
So, we waited and tried to sleep. But each time we peeked out, she was still there.
Finally, we were so wide awake we figured we would just wait her out and decided to play Monopoly. Now you know Monopoly takes forever to play but we wanted to see those presents. And every hour or so we would look down the hall and see that she was still there. Man, what does it take?
We kept playing and looking. We even started down the hall a few times but always chickened out and crept
to our room. We thought she must be on to us!
Around 7 am we just gave up and got in bed, closing our weary eyes, for what seemed like mere moments.
Suddenly everyone was awake and heading down the hall. As we rushed along we couldn't believe that Aunt Janice was
sitting there guarding the presents.
But then she walked into the room from the kitchen with Uncle Gordon. What???
What we thought was the back of her head was actually a life-sized doll, for one of our sisters, sitting on a box.
We about fainted...beaten by a doll. So, we kept that info to ourselves for quite a few years.
But we did sleep
that Christmas night, up at the cabin.
Photo by Janice M. MacLean