I’ve been going to the Herod family cottage for 7 years now. Each time with different combinations of people in Alex’s family such as his parents, a sibling of his, a cousin or two, even my mom has gotten in on a trip to the cottage. But this trip, with a new crew consisting of with Alex, myself, both of his brothers, my near sister in law and a friend, was really something special. The six of us settled into the cottage for a mini getaway of lakeside fun, sun and serenity on the beauty that is Loch Erne.
On the sunny days we lounged by the lake, swam across it, paddle-boarded on it and played makeshift baseball beside it, with a football and a canoe paddle. However that game ended just as quickly as it began when events took a turn towards both hazard and hilarity.
After a few drinks, we took our basic game of simply tossing the football down the staircase and off the dock, to hitting it back up the staircase with a plastic canoe paddle. I threw the football to Alex who stood metres below me on the dock in a perfect batters stance, canoe paddle in hand, and with one big swing of the canoe paddle, it instantly detached into two parts instead of one.
We all stood still and watched in terror as the bottom half of the canoe paddle flew upwards and onwards, not stopping until it made direct contact with the brand new picture windows that had just been installed a few months ago. When the paddle hit and the window didn’t instantly shatter, we took that as our cue to unclench our fists, release our breath and break down in hysterics right there on the dock. It shouldn’t have taken hindsight to realize that this inventive game was a bad idea, but it did. After all, we had had a few drinks (I led with that for a reason lol).
Not every activity ended in an almost shrapnel experience. On the rainy day, when the rain started at 9am and pelted the ground and the lake and the dock hard all day long until dark, we ventured into the quaint streets of Parry Sound and were happy to be tourists in a town we’ve been to many times before. We strolled through the used bookstore, wandered into the local brewery and took shelter under our umbrellas as we dodged puddles and hopped over sewer streams. For me personally it was also the perfect day for catching up on old books and starting a few new ones. I hid out in the unused sauna, read my books and listened to the rain fall onto the lake as it seamlessly became a part of it.
Though we all tried to help out in meal prep and meal cleanup, Alex’s older brother Adrian took the reigns with nearly every meal and treated us to gourmet like cooking at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We indulged in food, drink and a picturesque view as we ate our evening meals on the deck in each other’s company, conversation and laughter.
The weekend felt effortless. Completely at ease and in enjoyment of one another’s company, conversation and contentment. Learning about new films and music and filling each others minds with both useful and useless knowledge. Tt all just felt so natural. The kind of natural that doesn’t phase three brothers who’ve known each other their whole lives. But as an only child, it was the kind of natural I always imagined, and finally felt. With the two brothers I never had and a near sister in law.
We’ve been to the cottage many times with different combinations of people. But this time, with this crew, was really something special.