What to do when told by a well-intentioned cabin owner that a peninsula of lake land in the Brainerd area that was long ago bought by a late relative is up for sale at a public auction due to unpaid taxes? Answer: You act. You hustle to view the land — approachable only by rowboat. You are awed by its beauty, and you promptly drive to the county courthouse to pay the taxes.
This is the back-story of how our lake cabin came to be. Owing to a stroke, my husband's grandfather was unable to communicate. After his passing, his children were unaware of the lake land he bought in the 1920s.
When we discovered it, the taxes were paid, and the land was divided among the children. Lots were determined by a drawing from a hat. In 1962, my husband's father and mother decided to build a lake home on their portion of land.
The site was cleared in advance. Over the years, the cabin and its additions have been a place of many "R's" for family, friends and guests — relaxation, recreation, rest, refuge, reading, reunions, reacquainting, recharging, repasts, remodeling and cabin restorations.
We all enjoy the theater of seasons and the many activities available at the cabin — swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, biking, hiking and tennis in the spring, summer and fall. Winter means cross-country skiing, ice skating, hockey and saunas, followed by plunges through the ice into holes made by an ice saw.
Each year we participate in boat parades, and host wiener roasts and July 4th triathlons for family and friends from nearby lake homes. The activities are special and are ways to connect the peninsula community for fun and festivity. There's also a game created and played long ago by the patriarch landowner, called Mountain Golf. It's a cross between golf and croquet, and in his honor, a landscaped 18-hole course was created on the property. Playing the game is a cabin-time highlight.
Of course there are always chores and projects — cutting and splitting wood, clearing land, shoveling snow, gardening and planting, along with cabin restoration work. But the hard work is a bonding experience.
We look forward to many more years of making pleasant memories of time spent at the lake.
Rhonda Plautz Linner, APPLE VALLEY