Only Happy in the Sun

Kids in boat log home way in the back. / Photograph by Matt Mulcahy.

As the boat quietly carried us into the middle of Colcord Pond the night sky beamed with constellations named centuries ago. Over the White Mountains distant lightning framed the photo of a treasured spot near Porter, Maine. Eight of us slowly drifted. At first we chatted and laughed. Then the pace of the razzing picked up. One barb after another pinged around the boat. Soon we were rolling. We were breathless. It was the kind of hilarity that exhausts your energy.

We are four guys who were drawn together more than 25 years ago by the random nature of college dorm selection. The housing selection process at Ithaca College put Larry, Kevin, Andy and me all on the same floor. Now we were in the middle of the lake with our wives Liz, Sarah, Kathy and Jamie all clutching our guts crippled by laughter.

Earlier in the evening we feasted on seafood shish kabobs. We drank a little wine and beer. Some of the guys smoked cigars. The children toasted pink marshmallows. They older ones set up tents and debated who would get to sleep next to who under those brilliant stars. Andy played guitar. I sang. Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Johnny Cash and Pearl Jam. A little a capella Gershwin reminded us it was Summertime.

That was all an evening cap off to a day filled with activity. Andy and Kathy are gracious hosts. Andy's family has been on this lake for decades. It's a lovely spot. Nature blessed this fork in the road with a spring fed lake. A water snake and a few other creatures were the only disturbances in an otherwise pristine locale.

Chloe the two month old Bernese Mountain dog got enough love in a weekend to last her life time. She was carried, petted and hugged. She nipped with her teeth. She rolled in the stream. She played with her toys. The next time we see her she will tip the scales over 100 pounds, but what a puppy she makes.

We water skiied and wake boarded. Kyle turned an aerial 360 on the board. Younger Jake and Daniel both got up with ease. Brad, Maddie, Georgia, Jenna didn't hesitate to swing and jump from a rope tied to a tree rising high above the lake's edge. There was time to swim, to float and to soak in the sun. The kids get along so well. They look out for each other. They encourage each other. They are building bonds they will never forget.

We already know all about those bonds. Within the litany of activities were moments of quiet conversation. Catching up on life. Jobs, plans, health. Jamie even found a way to quiet the kids and reach into the depth of their feelings as they lie on the hammock.

A weekend like this reunion at Colcord Pond reminds us of quickly passing time and the importance of working to stay connected. In the end it refreshes our fond memories and builds new ones. It feels like we've known each other for as long as those stars have been in the sky. I'm sure even now our laughter is echoing through the mountains on the edge of Maine.

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