Being away from the cave is usually an interesting event for me. Putting on my social face and going out into the world is definitely not stepping into my happy place, but occasionally, I have to just suck it up and do it. This past weekend, it was for a good cause. Well, two good causes actually. I had fun but I’m happy to be home.
My daughter and her family are house-sitting at a beautiful old fishing camp not far from their home. The house, built in 1904, is as Walton-esque as it gets with a wide wrap-around, screened-in front porch lined with rocking chairs facing a huge three-pronged lake and a rabbit hutch cozied into a corner.
Just driving down the single-lane dirt road with over-arching pin and water oaks laden with Spanish moss transported me to a state of quietude and peace–once I’d gotten over my wariness of entering this respite from home with its real threat of alligators, rattlesnakes, and snapping turtles. (And it is a real threat. People have gone missing in this lake, fishermen stepping onto the shore at the wrong time and at the wrong place.)
Inside, the first floor of the house is set up for entertaining. There are two industrial strength kitchens with massive gas ranges and restaurant-ready refrigerators. Four dining rooms hold massive wooden tables and enough chairs to seat a small army. Typical lodge artifacts line the walls: fish, alligator skulls, lures, nets, paintings and posters and newspaper articles about adventures long forgotten. I could imagine this place in its heyday filled with fishermen lounging by the fireplaces (of which there are many), drinks in hand, telling fish stories while waiting for the evening meal to be served.
The house was built as a bed and breakfast for camp members, and was, according to the articles on the walls, a good place for a Saturday night dinner out on the town with friends from New York, or LA, or Savannah. I admit I couldn’t quite picture that scenario given that this place is situated precisely at the end of the road less traveled but I suppose these members must have been hearty folk to begin with to spend their days on waters infested with every manner of dangerous critter. And it must have been a hoot to drag their guests, willing or unwilling, out into the swamps for a meal.
The second floor is the caretaker’s home, a four bedroom, three bath apartment with tall windows (with original glass) and thick carpet over creaking hardwood floors. There are cabinets and closets galore, a central dining room, and a living room on the north end overlooking the lake. It’s homey and comfortable and “creepy as all get out” in the words of my grandson.
It was a little creepy but it’s a cave dweller’s dream, nestled far away from the hustle of life. I drank my morning coffee while I lounged in a rocking chair older than me on a porch built before my grandfather was born. I felt at peace while I rocked and dreamed and realized that this was a cave after my own heart.