The Cedar Chest 

When my dad was 19, he bought my mom a cedar chest. I never knew how the cedar chest made its way into our family. I just remember it always being around – the place where we stored old family photos, birth certificates, baptismal gowns, and other family heirlooms. When I was a young boy, sitting on the floor of our rec room, I would occasionally open it up to sift through its contents. I loved the smell of cedar that would waft out as I opened the lid. I could keep myself busy for hours looking at black and white photos and my parents’ wedding album. I’m pretty sure I was the only person to regularly look through it, so the cedar chest became my hiding place for my own secret treasures. That’s where I kept my baseball cards.

This Memorial Day weekend, Kristine, the kids and I traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to help my parents move out of their house on Lake Coeur d’Alene, where they have lived for 20 years. That chest has sat untouched in a closet under my parents’ stairs for those two decades. My mom and dad have known for a while that I’ve had my eye on the cedar chest, so they are now ready to part ways with it. As she cleaned it out in preparation for our visit, my mom said she found my old baseball cards. She also found old photos of my dad and her from the dances they attended at Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Henry and Ruby got a kick out of those.

Today, we all visited my parents’ house on the lake for the last time. My dad helped me load that cedar chest in the minivan. When we get back to Bellingham, that cedar chest is where I’m going to keep the memorabilia of Fry Lodge. I wonder if Henry or Ruby will develop their own relationship with that piece of furniture. Either way, I’m sure I’ll occasionally find myself sitting in front of it with the lid open, as the smell of cedar washes memories over me.

Goodbye, Fry Lodge Rockford Bay 


Springtime Boundaries


After a fairly productive Sunday that included a run to the dump and preparing Ruby’s bedroom to be painted, I settled in to do some work on my laptop – looking forward to some time off my feet. My butt had just hit the chair when Henry and his buddy, Rudy, came in and asked if I’d get the kayaks out so they could paddle around the bay. How could I say no? I’d much rather have them outside than have their noses in screens playing Minecraft. I’d been thinking for weeks about how I needed to empty the water that’d collected in the kayaks over the winter. The boys helped me scoop and sponge out the ice-cold, algae-filled water, and then they were on their way. They had a great time, and I’m glad I didn’t succumb to the screen time alternative.


As soon as I sat down again, Ruby and her friend, Audrey, came in. Ruby said, “Dad, can you mow the lawn?” That’s where I drew the line.


Fry Lodge Prepares for Fall

Saturday morning on Mud Bay. Blue sky. A light ripple on the water. Birds flying over the wetlands. The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air. And diesel exhaust from Dwight Lewis’ dump truck idling in the Fry Lodge driveway. As we prepare for the imminent moisture of fall on Lopez Island, it’s time to firm up the driveway to prevent the mud pit that emerged last year. That’s why Dwight was there Saturday morning – to dump 10 yards of crushed rock along the steep part of our drive. Luckily, he dumped it pretty evenly, easing the job of spreading it out – a job the entire family helped do on Sunday afternoon.


On Sunday evening, I was fortunate enough to put my sailing skills to the test on Brian Goff’s sailboat. Thanks, Captain B!

Great fun on land and sea this weekend.

The Rules of COSTCO

On our way back to Lopez from Seattle this weekend, the Fry Family Quartet paid a visit to COSTCO. We did the math and determined that periodic pilgrimages to this wholesale mecca make all kinds of sense for the Fry Lodge budget. Stocking up on household basics, combined with topping up our gas tank, will more than pay for the ferry trip to the mainland. We also know that it’s easy to fall into the traps that await shoppers up and down the aisles. So, we prepared the kids for this and established the Rules of COSTCO. Henry committed these to memory and agreed to recite them on video, which Ruby helped edit (including picking out the soundtrack used in the title and credit sequences).