We were the first to arrive at the little Pamet House in the woods.
A Sunday afternoon in late July, we drove along winding roads of Cape Cod to reach Truro. My parents wanted to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren by living as beach bums for a week this summer. They rented a house in the woods. For months we looked at pictures of our escape, trying to imagine nine people and a dog living under one roof, sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms.
The house emerged quietly at the top of the driveway. No other cars were in sight, but the sound of a vacuum cleaner drifted out open windows. We followed a path of crushed sea shells, pebbles and broken china. We climbed steep flagstone steps. Salty air blanketed our bare arms as we stood on the front porch. DW called to whoever was inside. We were about 45 minutes early, and sure we had surprised a cleaning lady, or rental management company.
But instead, the artist and owner Kim Kettler emerged, still gripping a dust pan. We made polite conversation as she quickly finished up her work, went over some basic rental information. Then she disappeared out the front door. A few minutes later, the rest of my family arrived. We all ran through the house, delighted by the beauty of this home, reveling in all the unexpected treasures. As the week progressed it was clear that this “rental” was really the artist’s home, her sanctuary. She was sharing a part of her spirit with us and we appreciated every nook and cranny of her vision. Even if I had not met her in person, I think I would have known her any way. Each room was like having pockets of private conversations with Kim. Her creativity was everywhere.
As I looked through our pictures again, searching for ones to blog about, I was overwhelmed by one constant feeling.
It was abundant, creeping into every sound. Present even in silence. I get an overwhelming sense of contentment thinking about that week. The joy in our vacation wasn’t found in fancy restaurants, a 5-star hotel, incredible excursions or hours of shopping. Joy found us in shared conversation, glasses of wine, cooking dinner under the stars, listening to impromptu musical concerts, falling asleep in our bathing suits, and catching my parents kissing while reminiscing about their 40 years together.
We celebrated each day until our eye-lids drooped and our bodies collapsed. I was more connected to my family than I had been in years, felt them as much as I could see and hear them. Caught myself whispering “I love you’s” as often as I took a breath.
This post was inspired by this week’s writing prompt from Write on Edge. We were challenged to write about a face to face meeting which, for better or for worse, didn’t go as planned. Fiction or memoir, 450 words.
- Little Pamet House (comingeast.com)