Ask my children and grandchildren what their favorite place on Earth is, and they would say “The Hennen Cabin.” You would think it must be a big lake home with all the luxuries and outdoor toys. Alvin and Gen Hennen built this mainly one-room cabin on Lake Traverse in western Minnesota more than 50 years ago, and nothing major ever changes. When anybody is invited to the cabin, we let them know it’s a step above camping: No indoor bathroom, no hot water, no heat and no privacy except a bedroom with a couple of partial walls. Hanging from the rafter boards is coloring book artwork and drawings from all the visitors. The unfinished stud walls are full of memorabilia. Bunk beds and anything that could turn into a bed fill most of the space, except a large oak table where everyone gathers. The sounds of nature and laughter, the smell of food and an outdoor fire, and the sounds of horseshoes and beanbag toss make memories to last a lifetime. What is it that makes this place a special retreat, so welcoming, so peaceful? Pure love that never changes.

My husband died on Labor Day this year of pancreatic cancer. He was 67. His wish was to make it to the family lake cabin one more time. He will when we gather next year to spread his ashes at his favorite place on Earth.

Judy Hennen, Anoka