It was a night made for summer.
The sky was heavy with stars, twinkling like so many fireflies caught in a magnificent dark blue glass.
It was a beautiful night, truly a night to enjoy the moment, and to slip back in time to enjoy other moments.
And, so as my sister and I sat in my kitchen companionably, chatting about this, that and the other thing, we did just that.
To me, sitting here chatting with my sister was as much a part of summer as sunshine and wild flowers and the first shock of icy cold water when you jump into the lake.
And as we chatted, we remembered. And so we laughed a little and we cried a little and then we remembered some more.
Many years ago I got to truly know my sister when she became one of the summer people.
She and her family usually cruised into town in their yellow and white convertible around the beginning of July. They pretty much always rented a cabin for the entire month and that’s how they became one of them.
The summer people.
The summer people invaded our resort town every year and consequently the town took on a life of its own. There were line-ups outside the little cafes along the main strip by the lake. Our shops, often quite deserted in the winter, were suddenly filled with an onslaught of tourists.
The beach itself became a jungle of beach towels and scantily clad bodies and the air was filled with the heady scent of suntan lotion and sun and sand and lake water.
It was during those years that my sister, the city girl, frequented the lake each and every summer.
Luckily for me and my family, every year she and her husband would bring their little blue boat called the Poseidon with them. Along with their summer gear, they threw their generosity, hospitality and kindness into their suitcases, causing what is known as the ripple affect in our entire family.
I don’t remember being invited to their cabin a lot. I just remember being there. It was like we had this standing invitation and the door was always open.
None of my children were very old when they learned to water ski behind that little blue boat.
I, on the other hand, had to hand my baby over to someone else the first time I tried.
My sister was in the water with me.
“Lean back, point your skis up, let the boat pull you up,” she instructed.
“I’m not ready,” I whimpered. “Yes, you are,” she said and she gave me a push and, suddenly, I was up. I smile as I remember. I had a great, lovely ski before I finally wiped out and I climbed back into the boat feeling extremely pleased with myself.
I come back to the present and gaze out at the star-studded night. In the distance I can hear the waves tumbling and crashing against the shore echoing with the distant, eerie sounds of the past.
Yes, we were so much younger then and, with the innocence of youth, it seemed summers of the future stretched endlessly before us.
I pour us more tea and make sure my sister’s walker is close beside her.
She walks slowly, now, stiffly, depending on her walker almost exclusively to get around.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Once she was young and vibrant like summer itself and when she water-skied, balancing gracefully on a single ski as she whipped in and out of the wake, everyone in the boat watched her with admiration.
She reaches for her walker and stumbles slightly.
“I’m not ready,” she whispers. “Yes, you are,” I say, giving her a gentle push.
We smile at each other, remembering.
“I guess I am,” she said, recovering her balance slowly.
And I think about the ripple affect and how it never really quits.
And, somehow, I feel happy!