When I was a kid, my Grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle bought a cabin just outside of Lake Tahoe. It was kid heaven…creek walking, funny drunk relatives, Oreo cookies, snow and Poker Night. I’m not just talking about adults playing poker–the apples don’t fall far from the tree, even if the seedlings can only afford to ante up pennies.
Our cousins, the Sax’s, had a cabin in the same subdivision. Usually each set of families would vacation there at the same time. Those were the weekends that Oly increased the poker revenue tri-fold. The Sax’s were so fancy that their outhouse had two seats. Yes, my cousin Shelly and I were not too modest to use that outhouse at the same time.
See, at the cabins you didn’t DARE go to the bathroom in the actual indoor bathroom!! Geez! Even though the Coen bathroom was so big you could fit 14 toilets in it, the only thing we were allowed to do in there was brush our teeth in the sink. It had something to do with the plumbing…so, you better make damn sure you made a visit to the outhouse before bed, because you sure as hell didn’t want to go out there at night. That meant waking up a cousin or two and BEGGING them to get up, put on another layer of clothes and venture out there with you with a flashlight, and no protection against Bigfoot.
Upstairs at the Coen cabin was one huge room with seven double beds and a double mattress on the floor. That is a LOT of snoring–especially when all those adults had been indulging in Oly all night. We kids were always banned to the upstairs once the serious poker playing started downstairs. Little did they know that us youngins were upstairs playing our own game of poker…for pennies, but still. All of us cousins usually started our gamble-fest in the evening after dinner. We would set up the little plastic record player and listen to the 45’s “I Like Beer” by Tom T. Hall and “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry over and over and over again. All my sisters and my cousins Kristi, Michelle and Cathy would goof around, pretending we knew how to dance, and my cousins Mike and John would entertain us with their lip syncing…then all of us would take turns jumping on all the beds and doing super flips from one double bed to another, complete with our 4-point landing on the mattress on the floor.
Sometimes we’d play games like Charades…there was no TV, so we had to do something. We’d perform our silent renditions of songs like “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight” and the parents would guess it because they were un-cool and actually knew that song. I guess that meant we were un-cool also. We didn’t use the fancy arm and finger signals like in real Charades…we just flailed around acting out our words.
We’d walk the creeks and go on adventures and discover secretly marked boulders that we were sure had been left behind by visiting aliens. We’d hide from the younger cousins and hope that all the adults would drive into Tahoe to gamble so we could have free run of the cabin under the rule of a cool older cousin.
While vacationing at the cabin one summer, my Grandpa brought a two-pound can of smoked almonds that my youngest sister, Melissa, discovered. One night she proceeded to eat the majority of the can, and then proceeded to sleep next to me on one of the double beds upstairs. And then proceeded to throw them up all over the fancy new sleeping bag my grandparents bought for me at Christmas. Oh well, I still love her, and I still love smoked almonds. Just not of the regurgitated variety.