Best of Beth Ashley: Wistful for idyllic days of Tahoe summer vacation

The article is a nostalgic reflection by Beth Ashley, originally published in 2007, about her family’s annual summer vacations at Lake Tahoe. The Ashley family, consisting of Beth, her husband, five sons, and various guests, would spend their summers at a cabin near the lake, leaving their Greenbrae home behind. The packing and driving up to Tahoe was filled with excitement and anticipation, with the family journeying through Auburn, Emigrant Gap, and Donner Summit.

Once at the cabin, the days were idyllic, filled with lazy breakfasts, afternoons at the beach, and evening gatherings brimming with laughter and good food. The Ashley family formed strong friendships during these summers, relationships that have endured until now.

However, the passage of time has brought changes. Beth’s husband and one of her sons have passed away, and the family’s carefree days seem a thing of the past. The lake and surrounding area have become increasingly crowded, and the peaceful serenity of the early vacations has been replaced by traffic and the bustle of vacationers.

In her dream, Beth finds herself back at the cabin, planning groceries and accommodations for a new generation of guests. But she ponders whether her sons have moved on, leaving the past behind. The memories of their summers at Lake Tahoe are still vivid, filled with joyous moments like reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories to her youngest sons, watching her eldest son play Batman, and spending days outdoors with their exchange student.

Upon hearing about the fires at Lake Tahoe, Beth is filled with a mix of relief for her own cabin’s safety and sorrow for those who have lost theirs. She contemplated how she would feel if her cabin were lost, too, and the pain is immense. Despite not visiting the cabin anymore, Beth holds onto the memories as a precious trove, even though much of what she treasured has already been lost in the passage of time.

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