Tomorrow morning at 3 am I will leave Richmond in the wee hours heading to the great state of Maine and a little corner of paradise called Dummers Beach. I was introduced to this obscure dot on the map 29 years ago when I was dating Pam. Her family had always vacationed here since the dawn of time and I just HAD to go. I had heard them all celebrating its many virtues, its beautiful mountain views, its clean and perfect lake, the lobster rolls, a mysteriously named “canteen”, holder of all manner of delectable treasure. So, against my better judgment and drunk on love I climbed into their giant station wagon for the 13 hour trip. Upon arrival I was treated to the pure delight of setting up a pop-up camper in the dark, in a thunderstorm. Afterwords, soaked to the bone, I settled around the camper table for a pizza dinner featuring the much bragged upon and famed “Maddies” Pizza. It was cold and the entire bottom was black. But after the previous 14 hours of my life anything would have tasted good. At that point I figured nothing else could ever be as bad as the trip, the camper assembly and burnt pizza. I was wrong. Once we all got in our bunks for the night, that would be me and all 5 of the Whites in a camper which could comfortably sleep zero people, I discovered the terrifying echo effect that campers have with snoring. Because I refuse to publicly identify the culprit, I will just say that this particular chainsaw-Harley-Davidson-turbine engine-like sound came from my future in-laws’ wing. I may have dozed off once for 10 minutes or so but my night was spent wondering why on earth I had let my love for Pam allow me to make such an epically awful decision.
Then, the sun came up. I rolled out of the rack-o-pain torture chamber that was my “bed”, opened the door and stepped out into perhaps the biggest single surprise of my life. First of all, it was July and it was FREEZING! I quickly rummaged through my suitcase in the car to find a bath robe. Unfortunately I hadn’t packed my winter coat. I cursed softly under my breath for being such an idiot to agree to this God-forsaken vacation where I was going to freeze to death eating molded pizza for the next week. Then I glanced through the trees and saw the sun reflecting off the lake. I saw the path leading down to the water. I found myself walking slowly, mouth open in wonder. I’m from Virginia. It happens to be the best state in the union without question, but the thing is, we don’t have lakes. At least we don’t have lakes like this. I made it to the beach and saw the most beautiful combination of water and mountains I had ever seen. Little did I know then that I would be coming back to this spot 20 more times in my life and that I would fall in love not only with Pam but with her lake as well.
This week will be our last Dummers Beach trip. Russ and Vi have decided that its too much for them at this point in their lives and that’s ok. I am in the process of finding a lake house near Camden because after 29 years I’m hooked on this State. But this will be our last time here. I will be updating this blog with the hilarity that will surely ensue in the week to come. If my tech-savvy children can show me how, pictures will be forthcoming as well. Hope you enjoy.