My dad was a teacher who suffered from seasonal allergies. His solution? Go deep into the northwoods of Minnesota and build a cabin.

So, he and my mom found a parcel of land in the federal lease program up scenic Hwy. 38 on North Star Lake near Marcell, Minn. They loaded up a rickety trailer with food, used furniture and all the tools they could move and drove north once school was out every spring. We lived in an 8-by-10 shack (now the pump house) summer after summer until a cabin was built. Improved and modified over the years, that cabin still stands. We all shared in the endless projects: hauling rocks, mixing cement, digging out tree stumps, sawing logs, shoveling sand. Dad usually turned these jobs into games to keep us children, the “hired help,” interested and involved.

The retreat has been the summer destination for family and friends for almost six decades. There we have learned to fish, ski, tromp through the woods, eat and chat by bonfires, sit on the dock after dark looking for shooting stars and explore the back roads. We ate fish and waffles, put on goofy programs, sang songs we wrote, created putt-putt golf courses and wrote scary stories about the “sunken fish house.”

And always, we have had the soaring eagle, mournful call of loons, pounding of rain on the roof late at night, and the fresh, sweet smell of pines and cedars.

This legacy has been left to us and hopefully our daughter by my parents, who sought respite from nagging allergies so long ago.

What more could we want?

Judy Dittberner, Forest Lake