After moving from Dallas to Minnesota in 1991, we encountered the “Halloween Blizzard” of that year. After 3 feet of snow and a two-day shutdown of Luther Seminary and the University of Minnesota, we wondered frightfully what in the world had we gotten ourselves into.

After recovering from that shock, we decided to do a very Minnesota thing — buy a small lot on a lake and build a cabin near Stone Lake, Wis. The wonderful cabin was finished in March 1994. We took possession of our new dream while the lake was frozen and covered with snow. We had not experienced an iced-over lake. On April 9, we took the whole family, including three children, to see our new playground and play on the iced-over lake. Our oldest son was home during his college spring break.

When we arrived at the cabin there was no snow on the lake and the thin ice was receding a few inches from the shoreline. My son and I jumped over the divide and walked out on the ice, while my wife and daughter and youngest son urgently called for us to come back to the shore. We finally walked back and discovered to our surprise that the ice had moved many feet from the shore. On that very cold day, we had to take off our shoes and throw our billfolds to shore, slide into the near-frozen water, and swim in.

After this frigid swim, our college-age son began to experience shock. The whole family jumped in the car and, driving at breakneck speed, rushed him to the hospital in Hayward where he was, indeed, treated for hypothermia. After treating him with heating blankets, the doctor walked into his room and handed him a prescription.

It read: “Stay Off the Ice!”