Grandma Kerber

I wasn’t born into a huge family but I was drafted into one. As my mother put it I am “one of three only children.” We were separated by so many years that my first memory of my sister is playing at her apartment and my first memory of my brother he was (as a senior) helping me get on the bus (as a kindergartner or 1st grade I can’t remember). Both sets of my grandparents passed when I was very young & I have only a few memories, none of which are very vivid.

My first memory of Grandma Kerber is crystal clear & all about family. It was twelve years ago or so when I stepped my first foot into that soda filled hallway, turned the corner and met Grandma Kerber sitting in that brown chair (the same one that now sits in my living room along with all the memories that come with it). She wasn’t by herself by any means, Aunt Marty was there by her side, along with her whole clan. In fact in the twelve years I knew her I can only remember two instances where she wasn’t absolutely surrounded with family. Once when my wife and I took her to lunch, and another time when she couldn’t wait to meet our new puppy London (curled up at my feet at the moment). Even though her family was large she welcomed me and any of her relatives significant others in as if they were her own.

So far her descendants include: 9 Children,17 Grand Children, and 19 Great Grand Children. With the exception of a few of the newest members of the family, this entire clan (and their spouses) were crammed into Grandma’s house every Christmas Eve for the traditional family Christmas party. Although I wasn’t around to see it, I’ve been told that the same was true for Halloween trick-or-treat parties & Memorial day picnics when the grand-kids were younger. So many memories all shared by everyone, some of them even carved or written on the walls in the basement.

Rest easy Grandma. Your dynasty lives on along with your memories and traditions. obituary

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The Camp Chair

Every home needs a Camp Chair whether it’s your primary residence, vacation home, RV or your cabin in the woods. The camp chair should be warm, cozy, well loved, big, green and a tiny bit of smell doesn’t hurt either. It should immediately make you sleepy, or at least make you contemplate a nap. It should have a nice view of the fire and be in close proximity to it so as to add warmth to make you sleepy. It should have memories, and it should be not just yours, but everyone’s favorite seat in the house. It should never stay unoccupied for long because someone else will surely be along to slumber in it.

I’ve had 2 previous camp chairs in my life and both fit that description perfectly. We just recently added a lazy-boy recliner from Rachel’s grandmother’s house to our living room and it immediately struck a chord. It’s brown not green but it’ll do nicely.

The really fun part though is planning the camp chair for the new addition on our camp. I think I have a perfect spot picked out we just need to find the chair.

What I’ll Miss (about camp)

In 1989 New York State bought the land the Long Lake Hunting Club had leased for the better part of the century (1200 acres, 8 miles from the nearest road).  They gave us 10 years to get out.  So in 1999 we had to leave the place many of it’s members had grown up in, myself included.  I’m not sure who, but someone wrote this poem and I’ve kept it hidden away in the dark bowels of my computer until now.

What I’ll Miss

As We give this camp a final toast,
I wonder what I’ll miss the most?
My bunk, the couch, that big green chair?
The smell of bacon in the air?

How bout that griddle made of steel?
Mmmm… we never missed a meal.
That big wood stove, it’s sides would glow,
and keep us warm at ten below.

Yes all these things were very nice,
and I’ll think of them once or twice,
But what hurts so much to leave behind
are all the people in my mind.

Harley, Bummer, Bob and Rod…
take care of them almighty God.
Roger, Howard, Loren, Chris;
It’s all you guys I’m gonna miss.

But there’s one thing we’ll always keep,
Within our hearts, way down deep;
Those memories of yesterday,
No one will ever take away.

And even though the camp is gone;
Those memories will linger on.

~Unknown Member of the Long Lake Hunting Club of Harrisville, NY

Every time I read it I feel the heat emanating from the old cast iron stove as we play just ‘one more hand’ of Euchre at the table built for 20 with the giant jar of maraschino cherries in the middle ready for Roger’s Manhatten.

I’ve seen very few of the members since the club folded. Some created a new club a few miles down the road from the old one, and we’ve visited with them a few times. Unfortunately, most moved on to places unknown.

I miss it. A lot.

I miss my uncle Loren (mentioned in the poem) the most.