I Bring You Back the Rock Pile
By ice rivers
I've made it back home from home.
My current home is in North Carolina. My home town state is New York.
When I grew up, I was blessed with grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. We visited one another often. I had a whole bunch of relatives on Wisconsin Street, just off of East Main, all of them were members of the Keenan family. My mother was the oldest of the four Keenan children. Wisconsin Street was one of my homes.
My grandmother and grandfather on my father's side lived in Holcomb, New York. My father's sister Martha, her husband Billy and their daughter Margaret also lived in the village. Holcomb was another of my homes.
Our family lived on Parsells Avenue inthe 18th ward on the East Side of Rochester. Parsells was my first home.
My father's father bought some land on Canandaigua Lake in the 1930's and over the course of the next 30 years he built two cottages on that property. I was around for the building of the second cottage. We spent a lot of time in Canandaigua at the cottage and in the Lake. Canandaigua was yet another home for me. My parents let me bring friends with me when we went for weekends. My city friends grew to love the lake as well.
All four of the locations were distinct from one another. Although both Parsells and Wisconsin were city streets on the East side, Wisconsin Street was closer to the Main. Holcomb was a village. Canandaigua a lake city. I had a different set of friends at each locale.
Now back to the home coming home.
My brother picked me up from the airport last week. He had bought and rebuilt a third house on Canadaigua Lake, next to the original two. I stayed at his house for the duration of my trip. Next door is my cousin Margaret who everyone has called Moonyeen since she was a child. Moon is 84 now. Her husband Corky lives with her. They married immediately after graduating from Holcomb High School. Holcomb High school no longer exists nor for that matter does Hocomb. Hocomb was absorbed by the larger town of East Bloomfield.
Corky and Moon have three children one of whom is my "goddaughter". Lori also lives in Canandaigua but in the city not lakeside. Lori visits her Mom and Dad regularly and tries to intercede when her Dad starts one of his rants about driving. Corky only has one leg. He's had last rites a few times. His balance is shot. He's carrying a touch of dementia. He takes some spectacular falls. He insists that he can drive and that he's gonna get in that goddamned car and show everybody that he damned well can drive.
I was one of those gimmick Godfathers. I was only 12 myself so I imagine it was cute at the time. I hardly know Lori as she has moved around quite a bit and raised a family of her own. She has had a successful ife which I tried to take credit for by claiming that my "godfathering style" was non-interferral and because I had left her alone, she had grownup correctly.
She got it.
She tahked me for "not being there."
I assured her that it was no problem and I would continue to not be there.
That night, the remaining Keenans showed up. Tommy a retired cop who needs a walker to get around because of his bad knees and Dotty, the yougest of the cousins who travels with her husband Jeff to Las Vegas very regularly now that they've become empty nesters. They were in Vegas just a few feet away from the targert crowd when the sniper opened fire.
Dotty is the Keenan family historian.
My sister Tears and her husband Larry also showed up. They live in Rochester, preserving the roots. They live on Shelford Road. Shelford Rd is what Wisconsin Street become when it crosses into Irondequoit. Shelford and Wisconsin are the same street connected by a curve in the street called Wyand Crecent. After our family moved from Parsells we relocated to Wyand Crescent.
Now many of us were together once again and perhaps for the last time for my "homecoming."
We touched a lot of bases together during this particular home run.
All things must pass.....
On the last day of my visit , I had one more goal on my bucket list, a dip into the waters of Crystal Beach. My brother had told me that he had a waterproof camera so I had a mission.
I wanted to take a picture of the "rock pile."
The rock pile has been in the same place for God knows how long. It's a bunch of large rocks gathered together in such a way that when you satnd on them, your head is above water. If you step off the rock pile, the water is ten feet deep.
As soon as I was old enough, my Dad took me out to the rock pile. I was scared to be in such deep water but Dad was near and he told me that I was safe.
I've repeated the process with my children.
A rocky rite of passage.
As far as I am aware, no one has ever seen the rock pile other than while experiencing it in/under the water. I decided to try and take a picture of it. I reached its remembered location. I took a deep breath and dove down with Deke's camera.
There it was as it has always been.
Looking the same as it always does.
Silent and calm
No time had passed since the last time although it had been at least 10 years in above the surface time.
Thr rock pile was ready for its close up.
The rock pile has always been ready.
I didn't know how to use the new fangled camera. I surface dived and got near the rock pile. I clicked the camera button a couple of times before surfacing. I don't have glasses on when I swim and the cataracts are getting worse so I had no idea if the image was in focus, if the button I was hitting was the snap button or for that matter if the entire thing was actually happening as I have/had dreamed about this moment many times in my life and the camera never works in my dreams and I get back to look at the picture and there is nothing.
I swam back to shore.
I gave my brother the camera.
He asked me "Did you get it."
Like Mastin Thrust answered after catapault launching a paper mache boulder at a fake T rex when he was asked the same question in The Last Dinosaur, I had only one half-blind response.
"I don't know."
A few hours later I was on the plane and heading home from home.
This morning, as Jeff Bezos hurled himself into space at the cost of a few billion dollars, I received a photo message from my bro.
It's the picture of the rock pile that I have included here.
Seen for the first time
Out of the water
I bring you back
The rock pile
And wish you all happy family