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Tradition

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Sunlight splashed through the window leaving vibrant sunlight on her sun-kissed tan face and her lightened brunette hair. Fresh bacon, scrambled eggs, and diced watermelon gripped the warm room. She knew breakfast arrived, and she sprang up and quietly creped down to the floor. With her first step, the worn wood under the frayed carpet creaked. Other heads rose from the simple bunk beds.

“It’s time for breakfast!” whispered the brown-headed girl with passion. “Hurry and wake up so I don’t eat everything.”

“It’s too early,” complained the girl’s older sister.

“I don’t care. I’m awake now and you guys are too.”

Moans from tired bodies could be heard from the other rooms. But the noises ceased throughout the sunny room once the fried bacon was inhaled.

One by one the family members appeared quietly at the table specially made for thirty people.

“I can’t believe you stole my blankie!” shouted Tyler as his sister, Niki, emerged from the stairs.

“You’re fourteen! You don’t need a blankie.” Niki remarked with an attitude.

Plates and utensils clanked together while the morning’s feast slowly decreased into dirty dishes. The girl with the brown hair, Marisa, and Niki’s younger brother, Tyler were privately planning their retaliation against the older cousins who had locked them out of the cabin in the blackness of the night. Ideas were inaudibly thrown back and forth between the two bitter bodies. Finally, a verdict was reached and they decided to capture a wild skunk and release it in the cabin.

“Now guys, you daren’t do that ever!” insisted seventy-year-old Anne or ‘Grandma’ who overheard the whispers. “Put yourselves to use now and help wash the dishes.”

Once breakfast ended, Tyler and Marisa sadly wandered to the soapy sinks to clean up. They childishly splashed each other and fought over silly things. Spending only five minutes slacking at their job, Tyler and Marisa trailed off to the cool cement porch. All of the other aunts, uncles and cousins were outside soaking in the day.
Hours passed and everyone, including Marisa, reclined in the worn sofas and chairs. Across the room slouched a younger cousin, Kent, and Tyler gearing up to play paintball. First, they acquired layers of clothing so the colorful bullets wouldn’t injure them. They dressed in camouflage so they would be hidden from the human eye. Next the boys cleaned their splattered barrels and inspected the large paintball guns. Finally they were off to battle in the hot woods of northern Pennsylvania.

The boys were gone for hours so the girl cousins; Regina, Sonya, Crystal, Theresa, Morgan, Marisa, and Niki went on a nature hike. Exploring the vast tract of the forest, they formed an unbreakable bond. Even though they differed in age they created a way to relate to one another and inspire advice. Theresa collected radiant reds, popping pinks, bright blues, and pretty purples and arranged the flowers for her grandma. After flower picking the cousins spotted in the distance an animal that resembled a large cat.

“It’s a mountain lion!” frantically screamed Crystal.

“No. It’s a cougar!” Niki whispered so the animal couldn’t hear her from yards away.

“Let’s get out of here before it eats us!” Regina cried instantly.

Sprinting through the woods and escaping the fear of the mysterious animal the girls made it back to the safe cabin in record time. Trying to spit out her words, Sonya engrossed the entire family into a marvelous story. Kent was disappointed he hadn’t seen this scary animal because he loved the thrill of the wild. But grandma insisted that no one leave the house for a walk alone, and her word was law.

Now that the family had worked up an appetite, lunch was served. Sausage smoke freely flowed in air and caused many hungry hands to appear at the tablecloth. The connection between oily fingers and the cloth made a sticky impression. Under this sticky cloth were layers of history and exciting stories. The weekend was created years ago when gray-haired parents were on their hand and knees as infants. Tradition kept this cabin alive. But no one cared when it came to history, this weekend they were attracted to the present.

Lunch had been a hit, and grandma was satisfied with her selection. Again, versions of the same story were shared around the table and laughing was common everywhere. The younger cousins threw their plates in the sink and rushed upstairs to change. Seconds later they dashed down the steps and out the door.

Down at the swimming hole Tyler and Steven collected gigantic rocks and placed them in an even row. Mounds of rocks piled to form a deeper area to swim. Suddenly Steven leaped off the bank and created a huge tsunami-like splash. He stood up yelling and holding his rear end because he collided with the sharp rocks at the bottom. After noticing he didn’t bare great pain, Tyler let out a cry of laughter. The rest followed, and until the sun set, all the cousins were perfecting “The Steven”.
One by one the younger cousins returned to the cabin and waited impatiently for the family to be ready. Kent couldn’t wait any longer so he screamed at the top of his lungs up the steps at the adults. Finally everyone was ready to leave. Lines formed by car doors, as everyone wanted to have the best seat to spot deer.

Watchful eyes peered out of the windows smeared with fingerprints. Excitement filled the air. A sudden scream of joy startled everyone in the crammed car. In the distance grazed a cluster of tiny brown dots. For animals so far away the whitetail deer caused lots of commotion. Deer after deer was witnessed and the eagerness of slyly searching wore away.

Next Ernie or “Grandpa” felt extremely generous and led the pack of vehicles to the small town’s general store. Before the car was put into park Marisa jumped out and flew inside. She was the first in line for ice cream.

Marisa caught her ice cream as it dripped off her crunchy cone. She thought to herself this is my last night here, and aware of this she became sad. She loved spending time with her outrageous family and getting away from the worries of her busy life. The mountains seemed so extraordinary, yet simple. This indescribable peace overwhelmed her. Marisa cherished th





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