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. 

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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 

Boys’ Weekend vs. Girls’ Weekend

The Fry Family Quartet split into Two Duos this past weekend. And I’m thinking our experiences couldn’t have been more different: Team Ruby/Kristine focused on shopping and ice cream in Seattle, while Team Sharkbait/Fryman focused on swimming and not showering in North Idaho (Fry side reunion).  As much as we missed having the entire band together, it was good for all involved to work on our solo projects.