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That New Dock Smell

Posted on April 16 2017

Soon after my wife and I started dating (some twenty years ago...) I made a trip down to South Carolina to meet her parents along with her extended family.  I was kind of blown away by a couple of things.  Her family was unbelievably welcoming to a Michigan Yankee and I had never really had Southern comfort food, which was an experience all it's own.  Lastly, the family property, which is several hundred acres with a large pond that more or less splits it all in two, was beautiful.  Fields and woods with different family members homes here and there with a pond that extends way up into the woods to the creek where it all begins.  This was a special place.

Melissa's parents had a dock on the pond and since she and I were in a Photography 101 (think simple SLR's, film, dark room, etc.) college course, we spent quite a bit of time down there taking a few images for class.  It was also a good opportunity to spend a few minutes alone and talk while sitting on the edge with feel dangling over the edge.  The dock was old, gnarled with a few boards warped which added to the character, but still very stable and extending out over the pond.

That dock continued to live on for another decade and a half until a couple winters ago it had to be taken apart and pulled out of the pond.  Nails and screws were pulling out, the wood was deteriorating, and it wasn't at all safe anymore.

We have "homework" images re-printed from film of that dock up on our walls.  It was over 30 years old and my wife remembers being maybe five years old when it was built.  A lot of memories were pulled from the pond with it gone.  It was sad to see it go, but it was clearly time.

Over late winter and early spring we have all worked together to build a new dock and it was finally finished last Sunday afternoon.  This project represented a handful of Sundays digging in the mud, hoisting big boards, a few swear words, and sore muscles to start each Monday after.  It's done and the hard work was well worth it.  

This new dock will be a focal point for the family for the next few decades to come and our children, along with their cousins, are already making memories down there.  Hard work pays off and some of the best equals time spent as a family for the benefit of our children. 

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