I love this essay. To me it is the essence of love in a family.

One cottage on the Bay, generations of memories.

Itís a rustic, waterfront cottage on a Chesapeake Bay islandóFleets Island, to be preciseówhere the Rappahannock empties into the Bay. This old cottage is part of an isolated cluster of others, a mile or so off the main road. Itís been added onto over the last sixty or so years and is filled with second-hand furniture, hand-me-down linens, and old pots and pans. To do anything from using the stove to turning on the water pump requires knowledge of idiosyncrasies so specific theyíre passed down like family history. Thereís sand on the floor, salt in the air, and to me, itís perfect.

The actual owner is my uncle, but we in the extended family like to call it ďoursĒ. My uncle and grandfather purchased the overgrown waterfront lot in the late 1950ís, and family members helped clear it to build the original cottage. My great-grandmother even spent time there, so continuing down the line to my own two children, five generations of family have enjoyed good times there. It became, and has remained a fantastic escape for the entire family.

Over the years, various combinations of the family have stayed there. By day we swam, played on floats, or walked to the marina, counting ospreys and eagles along the way. At night, we moved beds and arranged cots so that everyone had a place to sleep. Most often, one cousinís sandy feet were in another cousinís sunburned face, but no one could have been happier. We were family, and we embraced the unity. Itís what we always did.

Long established routines continued, as adults cooked bacon and whispered over coffee so as not to wake the kids. Over the decades, so many in our family watched the same sun rise over the same spot on the same horizon while the same scene of boats pulling in crab pots played out just off the beach. Over time, younger members slept in the same rooms, same beds, and spent days on the same beach as older members, now gone. I hoped that when I had kids, they would appreciate that history and recognize this cottage as the place where most of the people in our huge family had gathered at various points in their lives. I hoped they would ďget itĒ.
Itís What We Do ó by Stuart M. Perkins