Happy New Year from Fry Lodge

The Fry Lodge Year-in-Review video is a good opportunity to reflect on an entire year of adventure, change and growth for the Fry Family. 2017 was quite a year. We made some nice friends in Bellingham, traveled all around North America… again, and [re]learned several skills, including snow skiing at the end of the year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

Happy New Year to the Fry Lodge Faithful!

2017 Fry Lodge Year-in-Review | soundtrack by B.E.R. (The Night Begins to Shine)

Ski Bums 

Today,  Henry went snow skiing for the first time in his life, and I joined him. The last time I skied, George H.W. Bush was president – back when I still had knee cartelidge and my original ACL. I was a more than a little anxious to get back on the slopes, but Henry has been so excited about learning how to ski, I had to try. So, at 6 am this morning, with a brace on each knee, little Fryman and I pulled the minivan out of the Fry Lodge driveway on our way to Mt. Baker. As Henry slept on the way up the mountain, I kept saying to myself, “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy.” 

Crazy? Yeah, crazy awesome. At several points during the day, both Henry and I said to each other, “This is amazing.” 

We were the eager beavers of the mountain. With a parking spot right in front of the ski rental shop, we were first in line to sign up for lessons. Henry looked a little panicked when I told him we couldn’t be in the same ski instruction class, but he confidently joined his group as we went our separate ways for 90 minutes to learn the snow plow and how to turn. 

A lot has changed in 30 years. Skis are shorter, bindings are more forgiving, and boots are a hell of a lot more comfortable. Over the course of my lesson, my muscles somehow remembered how to ski, and I almost felt 17 again. When I rejoined Henry post lesson, it was clear his life had changed forever. I seriously don’t think he’s ever had this much fun doing anything. 

After dozens of chairlift rides, and as the sun started to set, we called it a day. On the drive down the mountain, Henry decided we’re going skiing again this Thursday. He also gave me some of his reactions to the day. He thought it was great that we didn’t have to pay each time we got on the chair lift (I agree).  He also admitted that he’d envisioned something completely different. For example, he’d expected us to take the chair lift up the mountain, ski around a bit, and then take the lift back down. He thought the actual way they do it is way better (I agree). 

Winter at Fry Lodge just got a lot more exciting. 

The Nine Days of Ruby 

Given their proximity to Christmas on the calendar, December birthdays are always at risk of being eclipsed by another widely celebrated birthday. I can’t believe I was ever concerned about that with Ruby. She has made it perfectly clear to the rest of us at Fry Lodge that the first half of December belongs to her.

Ruby turned nine on Friday. There was no school that day. Coincidence?

Breakfast in bed is a Fry Lodge birthday tradition. Ruby ordered nine waffles.

Her birthday cake request? Nine chocolate cupcakes. Candles to be inserted into her  cupcake? Nine. 

The number of guests to be invited to her bowling party today? Nine.

Is there a limit to our love for this little force of nature? Nein. 

Henry and Ruby hear from their Representative

Henry and Ruby received both received a letter from their Congressman, Representative Rick Larsen, this weekend. Back in June, their friend, Sam, who lives in Maine, sent the kids some postcards to send to Larsen – reminding him to keep fighting to help preserve our oceans. They were thrilled to get a response. Thanks to Sam, Henry and Ruby for reminding us how it’s supposed to work. Oh, and Patty and Maria, we’re sure your letters are in the mail. 

Blindsided 

Tonight after dinner, while Kristine and Ruby took the recycling down to the garage, Henry told me he had something to tell me as soon as his mom and sister were safely out of earshot. When he heard the garage door close, he turned to me with a smile on his face and said, “I know that you and Mom buy all the Santa presents. I know you stuff our stockings. I know you hide the Easter eggs. I know all of it.” 

I was completely blindsided. It’s August 28th. Who brings this up at this time of year? I mean, it’s not even Labor Day yet. These are the types of questions/assertions one starts to expect around Thanksgiving. Halloween at the earliest. Not in the dog days of summer! I was not prepared, damn it. 

As I heard the girls coming back up the stairs, and as my son just stood there, smiling at me, all I could muster was, “Why are you talking about this right now?” I was panicked. What if this was some sort of a bluff? 

Well, it wasn’t a bluff. When Ruby left the room again, I loudly started doing the dishes and beckoned Kristine to the sink. 

“Henry just brought up a very unexpected topic,” I said, with the intonation of a question. 

“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. He brought it up today after school, so I told him everything. He asked about a bunch of other stuff, too.”

And so starts 5th grade for Henry and 3rd grade for Ruby. 

The Fry Side 

We spent the last full week of summer in North Idaho, home to many Fry side relatives and venue for the 2017 Fry Family Reunion. Unlike the Eitings and Watsons, who gather their extended family annually, the Frys only manage to get together every several years. And that’s probably a good thing. 

Brother Mike hosted the extended Fry clan at Priest Lake this past weekend. Four generations of descendents of Margaret and Carl Fry Sr. gathered at Mike’s place, which is only a few hundred yards away from the spot where Carl, Marge and their young family built a rustic cabin on the beach in the 1940s. So many Frys have made so many memories there. And, I’m sure more than a few were conceived in that old cabin. Frys, we’re like salmon returning to Priest Lake to spawn. 

It was a great way to end the summer. I spent quality time with each parent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew. Henry and Ruby got acquainted with their North Idaho cousins. And my mom and I finally had our potato salad face off. 

Fry family reunions are… rare events. Fittingly, as we drove home across Washington state today, the sky dimmed as the moon totally obscured the sun for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Once upon a time there was light in my life. But now there’s only love in the dark. Nothing I can say.  A total eclipse of the heart.