There is nothing more enjoyable than a family get-together, especially when the cousins gather at the Bolin Cabin on Beaver Lake. We call it the cousins gathering although Jim, Jane and I get to attend. Mama told me before she died that she hoped her family would get together at least once a year so we would all stay close. Each year there is a gathering at the cabin. It is fun just to watch the cousins laugh and talk about what I don’t know because I don’t hear very well. It may be a good thing I don’t hear. Not only a lot of laughter but lots of food. No cooking out as all the food was brought by family members. Thus it was last Saturday when twenty-four Bolin kin made the pilgrimage to the cabin. The cabin on the lake is very special to all of us because our late brother Pat, his wife and two daughters built it when his son, the late Danny Bolin, was serving our country fighting in Vietnam. It was Pat’s way of coping with his worry. The building of the cabin detoured the negative concentration of something so far out of his control.
The cabin, in a remote location, is built on a rocky hillside, a place of serenity. A place Pat’s family spent many hour for two years. The family, using picks, chipped out the rock and leveled the ground. Niece Nancy, who was only ten years old, said she carried rock for the fireplace, up the ladder, on her head. She also heartilly mixed the sand, color and cement into the mixer. Niece Patsy said her “hands on” experience was beneficial as she had built her own rock walls and flower bed with ease and confidence. She, also, said, “It took two full years working faithfully day after day to finish the cabin. Dad’s need for that peaceful fatigue must have been a great factor in his drive and zest. He was not merely a builder, but was managing a truck terminal and raising and working a garden, too.”
In 1972, by the grace of God, Danny came home in one piece. The cabin had served its purpose. Although Pat, his wife Winona, son Danny, Mama and three of Pat’s grandsons are no longer with us I’m sure they were smiling down as the family gathered at the BOLIN CABIN.
On guard duty in a tower overlooking a village in Vietnam, Danny was so touched by the children in the street below that he wrote the following poem:
Here I sit all alone
Ten thousand miles away from home
Spending time in Vietnam
Paying a debt to Uncle Sam.
A million places I’d rather be,
Where living’s good and men are free
But in my mind I couldn’t stand
To forget the children of this land.
When I was a child things weren’t so hard
No barbwire bordered my back yard
There was no war, there was no fear
My Mother and Father was always near.
I was free to walk in the woods at will
To play in the creeks and roam the hills
But not so for these Vietnamese boys
Who live in fear and have few joys.
And when I think I’ve had enough
I think of these kids who have it rough
And all my problems seem so small
I realize they were never there at all.
I know my year will soon be gone
And when I’m safe again at home
I hope I will feel I’ve done my part
To give these kids a brand new start
On the kind of life I always knew
Where happiness filled the whole day through.