Fishing, swimming, spending time with the family, sitting around a fire drinking a cold beer, are just a few of the things that my father loved to do at our family cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was just a time for him to get away and relax and enjoy life.
If there is one place he could be all the time, it would be our cabin. It is so quiet and peaceful there and that’s something he enjoyed. There is no cell phone reception at all which I believe he liked so none of you could bug him about the paper (joking of course). Besides speed boats going around with tubes or water skis hooked on the back with one brave soul getting an adrenaline rush or occasional screams of happiness from the kids across the lake, it was a good place to get away from all the ruckus and noise that bigger towns or cities have…Not that Herscher has that, but you know what I mean.
He loved taking us up there each summer and spending time with us. With no cable television or cell phone reception, he knew it was a perfect chance to spend undistracted time with the four people who meant the world to him; my mother, Janet, my brother, Zach, my sister, Sophie, and me.
When my siblings and I were younger, he would take us up to the cabin individually. I always wondered why he did that. Eventually I realized it was because he just wanted to spend time with us one kid at a time. I think all of us kids got to learn something, or do something, a little different from one another. Some of those things were learning to put a worm on a hook, learning to cast out, learning to reel in our prize, learning to unhook the fish and put it in our bucket, learning to hold up our fish (and posing for the camera as if we caught a humungous bass when it was really a tiny bluegill), or learning to gut a fish.
The list goes on and on. I feel like he took us up there individually for a reason. And that reason was to teach the other siblings what we learned when we went up as a family. (I honestly think my brother learned more than me because he always schools me on a lot of things when we go out to fish.)
My father loved being at the cabin not once, but twice a year. He always considered it a second home, and now it will be his earthly home forever.
Last week, as a family, we scattered his ashes along the lake as his final resting place. We didn’t want to bury him into the ground. He would climb out of his grave and kick our… behinds if we did that. Instead, we wanted him to be where we thought he would love to be, our cabin.
It was a bittersweet moment watching him being carried by the wind and gently landing in the lake. Even though it was really tough to say our final goodbyes, I felt like we were all finally at peace knowing he’s where he would want to be.
I’ll always remember fishing with him, learning from him, and talking with him alongside a fire with a nice cold beer in our hand. Those are just a few of the memories that will never leave my thoughts. I know he’s in a better place but I also know, somewhere up at our lake near our cabin, he’s fishing or swimming, enjoying an everlasting life.
The things I learned from him up at our cabin will never escape me because one day when I have kids, I can teach those things to them and show them what an awesome grandfather they had.
To my readers, I challenge you to never take anything for granted. Love your family every single day because you never know what will happen. It’s the small things that matter, tell them goodbye and that you love them before work or spend time with each other more often. After everything that has happened, I’ve learned to value the time that I have and to appreciate the ones in my life who mean everything to me.