Back in 1950 my dad, an ambitious, small brick-and-stone contractor, found a way to trade for a small cabin on Lake Minnewawa in the McGregor area. It was a natural for him to return, if only for weekends, because he grew up on a small lake in the area and graduated from McGregor High School.
Every Friday night from early spring until late fall we made the trek from the south metro suburbs around the old “belt line” and up Hwy. 65 to the lake near McGregor. Even though the cabin was new with electric power, it was very basic. We hauled water from the neighbor’s well and drove up the half-mile to buy a block of ice from one of my dad’s classmates, Perry, who had a resort-gas station on the next lake.
My sister and I spent many hours exploring the area and many more hours in the water. We learned to water ski behind a 14-foot aluminum boat powered by a 15 horsepower outboard. (It took a while get up on top of the water). The freedom we had all those summers provided me with some interesting memories. My dad knew about every backwater hunting and fishing spot. There were a lot because the area is part of the Savanna Portage area that has a lot of water. He brought me on all his excursions, and not all were that great — at least to me. Still, I cherish the memories.
We grew up and went out on our own, and my parents continued to enjoy their escape for many years.
My parents died in the 1980s, and my wife and our six now-maturing children started to enjoy the newly modernized and expanded cabin, now also more usable in the winter.
We had some fantastic July 4th family reunion weekends, and would take our generous neighbor’s property, filling it with tents, campers and motor homes.
Most of the time things were quiet except for the sounds of fishing boats passing or, in the evenings, the soothing call of loons.
Eventually our family went separate ways. Some got their own lake places. Not very long ago, the cost and maintenance of two properties got to be too much, and we sold. I do miss it very much.
Dave Erickson, Bloomington