The Hospitable Cabin


Tres Pinos.

The cabin was built in 1923 by my great-grandparents. It is where they went every summer to escape the heat of the Central Valley.

It was a Cabin. With a capital “C”. One room, a wood stove for cooking and heating, a kitchen sink and cupboards with curtains (no doors). There was running water from a spring. My mother spent summers at the cabin with her grandmother when she was a child.

There have been a few upgrades. It has electricity. It has indoor plumbing. It now has a bedroom and a separate kitchen.  All the comforts of home. Except there is no television, no radio, and, until recently, no phone. There is no such thing as cell service.


New front wall and porch. 2017

The place is stocked with very old books, picture albums of the family, fishing poles, flashlights and mouse traps. There is a granite rock fire circle in the front yard.

It is rustic.

It is a place of refuge.

And it was (and still is) hospitable. My memories are of family and friends sitting on the back deck in overstuffed rockers or lounging on outdoor beds that were covered in blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and detritus of overhanging Cedars and Ponderosa pines.

Growing up, the summer days were spent swimming in the river or hiking to the redwood forests. Early evenings were spent fishing. Fish bite at dusk, so dinner wasn’t started until the fishermen returned with their catch.

Summer nights were spent outside around a campfire. Usually it was at our cabin. Or we would go next door to the Ferguson’s. All the people on the lane would come, with their chairs, as soon as the fire was lit.

My father would sing and we all joined in–“There’s a Long, Long Trail”, “Irish Rose”, “Skip to My Lou” and, just for my brother, “Danny Boy”.

My father’s voice would rise to the heavens. Clear and pure. The fire would crackle and, occasionally a log would crumble sending red and yellow sparks skyward. Marshmallows would be roasted (or burned). S’Mores were assembled and devoured.

As the fire reduced to embers. We would grow quiet. We would listen to the fire and the trees and the river. The stars would make a blanket of silver over our heads. The moon would rise over the crest of Slate Mountain as people drifted off to their cabins.

There were people that still live in my memory. Ann Patterson in this picture with her grandchildren and my daughter.


Ann was a fisherwoman. She had spent most of summers at her cabin which was next to ours. In her 90’s she complained that it was getting harder for her to get up to her cabin from the river. So she would take a bota bag of wine with her.  For energy, she said!

Ally and Tom Ferguson. Our neighbors and the best friends of my great-grandparents.


Alice and Tom Ferguson with Barbara Flynn (my great-grandmother) on her 100 birthday!

There was always family.


Mother, Daniel and Nana at around 1972.

There was room for everyone. Hanging on the wall was a wooden plague that read:

You are welcome here,
Be at your ease.
Get up when you’re ready,
Go to bed when you please.

We’re happy to share with you
Such as we’ve got,
The leaks in the roof
And the soup in the pot.

You don’t have to thank us
Or laugh at our jokes,
Sit deep and come often…
You’re one of the folks! — Unknown

The plaque is still there.

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  1. It sounds like where we camped in Maine – minus the electricity, telephone, and indoor plumbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always wanted to stay at the “cabin” even though I don’t do outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a magical place with so many memories – thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely memory of space and times shared! Exactly, for me, what going to the cottage or cabin should be, getting away from it all and enjoying nature and the ones you love!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish I could take my dogs with me but people use poison for the mice and I don’t want to take a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh what a shame, it looks like a great place for hiking with the dogs, but their safety is the most important thing 🐾💜🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lovely. What a wonderful lineage of memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The words of the plaque are wonderful, your article is beautifully descriptive and I’m smiling from ear to ear, and dreamfully relaxing thinking of those glorious family holidays down at our beach shack. Thank you so much for this fantastic presentation of yours, so thoroughly enjoyable to read., i’ll attach a song that I’m listening to right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for your kind words. And the music! How appropriate! I am so glad that my words sent you to a happy place.


  11. Ditto to all the above comments. I don’t just like your story, I LOVE it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you, my friend!!!!


  13. Beautiful story and such magical memories.


  14. Such a wonderful trip back to a different era in history. Back when simple things were enough and everyone was happy to just be with each other! No texting and staying in their own solitary bubble. This has a Little House On The Prairie feel that is a great trip back into the nostalgia of yesteryears! Thanks for this great share! Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on AreMyFeetOffTheGround and commented:
    A comforting story of a revered gathering place, by Gael Mueller. Loved it, especially the plaque on the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You liked it enough to reblog?!?!?! I think I am going to cry. Can’t wait to tell my brother who is going to the writer’s conference in Sun Valley Idaho. He doesn’t write. He just shmoozes.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Come take a walk down memory lane to – THE HOSPITABLE CABIN


  18. The Cabin seems like the place where Life can happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for following our Blog Site. We are honored that you would take the time to read. Feedback is important for progress and success, so please leave any comments as you desire. Thank you, John

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Life does happen there. Thank you for reading and following. I am honored.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This post resonated deeply. My grandmother had the same plaque, and I took great delight reading it every time I was at her house. “Sit deep and come often, you’re one of the folks!”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I enjoyed your description, photos and the saying on the plaque. Sounds so idyllic! I wish we’d had a summer place like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A wonderful and welcoming respite… Beautiful family and treasured moments together.


  24. So fun to read the memories. I had so much fun at the cabin . I remember playing Life with Cease. Since she was 97 at the time it seemed especially appropriate. Great to revisit thru your words!
    Love you!


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