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)

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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.

Almost Home 

After 4000 miles, 12 campsites, 7 states, 3 provinces, 2 rodeos, 100s of bison and probably 3 gallons of ice cream, our 2017 summer RV trip is almost complete. Currently in Winthrop, our last stop, only one mountain pass and a 3-hour drive stands between us and our own beds. 

We sped through the Big Sky state so we could have a nice 2-day visit in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where Grandma and Grandpa Fry hosted us for a much needed pit stop. We had Grandpa’s famous ribs, Grandma’s delicious scones, and, of course, more ice cream. 

Having spent the past three weeks driving through forests, grasslands and corn fields, it was nice to spend some time on the water. This weekend we took two boat rides on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. Grandpa gave the kids driving lessons, which made the excursions pretty interesting. 

We packed a lot into three weeks. Though we’re happy to get back to Fry Lodge, some of us are already planning the next road trip. And ice cream cone. 

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 

Modern Family 

As my dad finished saying the blessing at Thanksgiving dinner, he paused just long enough after “This might be our last Thanksgiving…” to create an awkward moment for those of us around the table. Was Carl about to get morbid? Was he making some kind of incredibly sad announcement? There was a collective sigh of relief as he continued, “… in this house.” He was simply referring to the fact that my parents’ house on Lake Coeur d’Alene is for sale. 

Carl Fry, Turkey 

Four generations of Frys gathered at Fry Lodge Lake Coeur d’Alene today to celebrate Thanksgiving. The best part for me was watching Henry and Ruby play with their first cousins’ children, who are their same age. It’s funny to think that my siblings have been grandparents for as long as Kristine and I have been parents. I’m sure it’s funny to them, too. 

Colten, with first cousins once removed, Henry and Ruby 

It was an enjoyable day, full of all the things that make Thanksgiving my favorite holiday: naps, games, movies, the constant smell of turkey, reminiscing about childhood. A few Hi-balls. Thank you, Carl and Kaye, for hosting an amazing gathering. You worked very hard on this (and I’m not just referring to the meal.) I really hope this is not your last Thanksgiving … in this house.

Four generations of Frys 

North Idaho Wedding

The Fry Family Quartet did a quick cross-state road trip this weekend to attend the wedding of my nephew, Jake, and his bride, Allie. It was a true North Idaho wedding, right down to the shotgun shell boutonnieres and the dirt bike making noise in the neighboring field during the ceremony. The reception, held in a converted barn, was lovely.

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Kristine and I got to catch up with family, while the kids ran around non-stop with their cousins. This was our third and final wedding of 2015. One thing I’ve learned after this wedding season is that Henry is an awesome dancer. His unique, totally uninhibited style makes me so proud. He has a future as a wedding crasher.

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North Idaho Vacation Part 2

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We wrapped up our smokey North Idaho vacation with four days in Coeur d’Alene. Grandpa Mustache and Grandma White Wine took the kids for two days while Kristine and I got some overdue alone time. We also hung out with our friends, Jim and Kristy Womble, who took me on an 18-mile bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. On Saturday, we had a BBQ with the rest of the Fry siblings, who spent some time on the washers court, while Henry and Ruby turned into prunes in the pool. A great vacation with family and friends.

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