In 1975 my grandparents purchased lakeshore property just south of Aitkin. I was in high school. When they began building the house, my high school boyfriend came up to help with the construction. By the fall of that year the house was complete. The retirement lake home that my grandparents saved and worked hard for all of their lives was no longer a dream but a reality. The walls were decorated with my grandma’s framed needlepoint artwork that she crafted with her patient hands. Grandpa’s workshop was meticulously arranged. Fishing lures and reels stored carefully separate from the hammers and nails.
As the years passed I ended up marrying that high school boyfriend. We had three children of our own, and through the years most weekends were spent at that lake house. My grandmother was an avid gardener, and dinners were full of her canned green beans, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and pan fish fried up to perfection. She taught me how to clean fish so you would never even find a hint of bone. Northern pike was pickled, and Grandma’s baking-powder biscuits were legendary.
Our children would beg to go and see “GG” and Great-Grandpa because they learned that being at the lake with sound of the loons and the spectacular sight of a bald eagle diving into the water for food was not to be missed. That holding a plastic bucket of fresh-picked strawberries and raspberries would yield the sweetest spread for a piece of homemade bread fresh out of the toaster. That playing Scrabble with “GG” meant learning words that school never taught you.
Time passes, and my grandparents are since gone. My husband and I were fortunate enough to purchase the property and are now preparing to make this our permanent home. It is with trepidation that I face living away from the cities with the hustle and bustle of all of the activities that are only a five-minute car ride away. With that being said, I feel ready to embrace the beauty that is living full time at the lake. I am prepared to make this into the oasis that my grandparents envisioned so many years ago. So I will plant a garden of vegetables. I will nurture the tiger lilies, peonies and rhubarb that have been neglected from occasional weekend visits. The bird feeders will be filled daily. The post hole digger has made room for our permanent mailbox. I will make my grandparents proud of the paradise that is “the lake.”
CHANGE OF SEASONS! Let’s shutter these cabins for the cold months ahead. Cabin Country will celebrate your beloved hunting shacks through the fall. Please send your photos and stories to email@example.com or submit online at www.startribune.com/hideouts. Come wintertime, we'll turn our attention to ice-fishing houses.