The country club in Gilbert, Minn., is over a century old. It was established by the lawyer, the dentist, the lumberman (who donated the land), the foundry man, the grocer, the baker, the doctor, the machinist and on and on when small mining communities on Minnesota’s Iron Range probably had a few more than one of each apiece. Others joined in its establishment and foundation.
The Eshquaguma Country Club created an 18-hole golf course and a series of cabin lots on local Lake Eshquaguma. You could play the golf game, socialize, shoot trap, buy a lot, build a cabin. Many did.
My grandfather’s family was involved in the club’s infancy, but did not own a cabin until 1970.
The cabin that she bought was almost as old as the club. It had been fluffed and buffed a bit. Screens were inset, walls were erected, a well dug, a kitchen and bathroom added. My mother spent her later years enjoying the ambience, the camaraderie of the club, the close drive to her home 45 minutes away on a safe highway.
Following her death, my family bought the little tiny cabin from her estate and painted the exterior blue. We painted existing furniture in primary colors and the interior white, and added carpet that would be soft on the knees of new grandchildren. Two-year-olds asked if they could please stay another night (their parents already planned to stay the week). One of them even asked if she could have the cabin when Gaga and Papa die because she liked it best.
We master swimming, bounce on gigantic water toys, build bonfires, float kayaks and canoes, catch fish, and take millions of golf cart trips on the back roads to the local general store a half-mile away. Teenagers come when their schedules allow. Tents are pitched.
The cabin hosts an ongoing celebration of people: Papa has as many as 40 men for an annual international invitational charity ($ stays on the Range) golf tournament — named after my mom. It takes place the week following Labor Day and is in its 25th year. Generations are involved!
My family is so fortunate to live and love in the little blue cabin Up North. We are happy summer rangers.
Saralee Hovanec, Orono