It was March 1959. The snow was beginning to melt. It felt like spring was coming, so we decided to drive north to look at lake lots.

We had been married just a few months and had $500 saved to buy a car. The feeling of spring changed our priorities. We stopped at a Realtor’s office. We didn’t think we could afford a cabin, but he suggested that we look. Overwhelmed with spring interest, he didn’t have time to take us out, but he gave us some listings and a map. We were off.

We eliminated the first cabin because it was next to a highway. The second cabin was a challenge because the roads had not been plowed and we had to walk in about half-mile through deep, crusty snow. Then, we found our cabin. It was a small, shuttered place with a detached double garage, tucked away in a pine and birch woods between Longville and Remer, Minn. It was on almost 3 acres with 300 feet of lakeshore. Price: $3,000. We raced back to the Realtor, ready to buy. He said he could not sell anything to people who had not even looked inside. So, he drove back with us. There was one room with a bed, a rocking chair, a table with four chairs, a sink which drained out through a hole in the floor, a hand pump, and a giant wood stove for cooking and heating. We said, “Perfect. Now, can we buy it?” We paid $500 down and $30 per month.

Then, we waited for the snow to melt. Were we on a swamp? No, the lake was exceptional. The hard sand bottom with no weeds was perfect for swimming, and there was good walleye fishing. And the area was noted for excellent grouse hunting. Who knew? Dumb luck.

After five years and three sons, we added two bedrooms. After 10 years we added electricity; after 40 years, a bathroom. Our sons learned to fish, swim, canoe, water ski, hunt and, best of all, to develop a deep appreciation for the environment.

We have been fortunate to travel to many countries and to spend many winter months in Florida. We’ve loved it all, but nothing compares to the excitement of going Up North to the cabin.

This year we will turn 83. We have had the cabin for 59 years. We still drive 160 miles up to the lake every other week. Now, we go mainly for the memories and, of course, to feed the hummingbirds. Our $3,000 buy has turned out to be the best investment we ever made.

Ted and Lois Dick, Maple Grove