Most times when we hear that question, we often hear responses like “I’d love to go to Paris,” or “I want to see the Colosseum,” or even the less cultured “In bed.” For me, the answer to that question today is not quite so extravagant. I’d like to be somewhere I’ve spent so much time already, but loved every minute.
I’m from St. John’s. I grew up here and never left. However, my dad is from the west coast of NL. And on the west coast there is a pond – Bonne Bay Pond. And on that pond there is a little white cabin, with a small blue motor boat and a green canoe. There’s a makeshift clothesline with swimming towels blowing in the wind between two trees. Twenty feet from the doorstep, there is the water. There is a wharf that seemed so much bigger as a kid. Along the shore, there is a bonfire pit with remnants from the night before.
We didn’t go on extravagant vacations to Disney or Europe when I was a kid. Our vacations consisted of us packing up a compact car near to bursting and driving 7 hours across the island to visit my Dad’s family. Most times, we didn’t even make it into Corner Brook, but instead drove up to Bonne Bay Pond and stayed at this cabin for the entire week. It was actually built when my dad was about 5 years old (so around 50 years ago – sorry dad). It didn’t matter how many bug bites or scratches we ended up with, or how bad the sunburns got we always had the time of our lives. Sometimes it was just us and my grandparents. Sometimes aunts and uncles and cousins and old family friends would show up.
One of my all time favourite stories was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. We had risen with the sun to start the journey. Dad says it was so we weren’t in the car during the hottest time of day, but I really think it was because he was too excited to wait any longer himself. We arrive at the cabin around 1:00pm. Wonderful. Except, my grandparents weren’t expecting us until much later so now we have just finished a 7 hour journey and are locked out of the only bathroom available. So while my mom gets my brother and I ready to go swimming, my dad proceeds to break into the cabin (likely not his first time). The look on my grandparent’s face when they show up was utter confusion. It has since been a much told story.
Something I’m very grateful for in 2014 was the opportunity to go there again. It was different this time, but still wonderful. We went swimming, dad did some fishing, I slept in a tent all week, and even though it rained, it was still a nice time. It kind of made me feel like a kid again.
I really do hope I get to continue this tradition. That little white cabin isn’t just a cabin for any of us.