March 25 • 06:20 AM

Memories of 'The Shack'

November 11, 2009
This is a...the word has not yet been born to describe the beauty that my eyes behold...magnificent, gorgeous, (Thank you God for my eyesight.) A perfect temperature and the clearest of blue skies as I have ever seen. A quite brisk southwest breeze is making ripples on the pond and reflects the blue of the sky while playing havoc with my freshly coiffured hair. But what care I...or Daisy, as she lies at my feet. She has been on her sniffing expedition. I am seated at the picnic table, sorting through stories told to me and those in my memory file. I am enjoying the various whispers of the willow, spruce, pine and aspen trees.

It was 109 years ago today that Anna Jane Miller and Samuel Park were wed. The historic wedding took place at Grandfather Mansfield and Grandmother Lucy Park's farm home on the corner of Hollow Corners and Rochester Roads, Dryden, now the Centennial Farm belonging to my late cousin Bill Thorman and wife Addie. My father's sister Erma and John Phelps were married also, in a double wedding ceremony. The newlyweds were taken by horse and buggy to Imlay City where they boarded the train for Flint to spend their honeymoon with my father's brother, Roy and wife Ella Park. As the old saying goes, "a lot of water under the bridge'' in 109 years.

It was 82 or 83 years ago that my parents bought the farm of which this pond is a part. At that time the pond was pasture land and contained three springs, later to become the pond and lawn surrounding it.

The popple or quaking aspen told of last week is still holding possessively to most of its leaves and they are still green. How they are dancing today! Not far from the aspen is what we call the cedar swamp. It consists of five cedars which were tiny when dug from Ron and Joy Godo's farm. Now they are full grown and nearly hide the old privy which is slowly sinking into the ground. It served its purpose years ago when Red and I used to spend a night or two in "The Shack.'' (Have you read the book, "The Shack?'' There is a similarity.) It is like a tiny house, complete with bed, table and chairs, recliner chair, kitchen cabinet and a used-to-be two burner gas stove and kerosene lamp. Daisy and I spent a night there a couple of years ago when the grandchildren had their RVs down here. A mother raccoon and her two babies were curious and climbed the screen door. I thought Daisy would fuss but, she was curious also. Great-grandchildren's toys that they play with in the sand beach are now stored there along with other summertime pond necessities.

I am invited up the hill a short ways from here to have dinner with Carol and Bob so...tah-tah.

— Country Cousin

Gertie Brooks, of Almont, has been a columnist for the Tri-City Times for over three decades now. Gertie's style of reliving days long past in her writing make her one of the Times' most popular columnists.
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