My parents bought a small crackerbox of a cabin 70-plus years ago at Warm Beach, a small community located about 50 miles north of Seattle on Puget Sound. My childhood memory tells me my father and two brothers put in a lot of work adding, first, a sleeping porch and later a small addition and indoor plumbing.

Because my father was a carpenter and a Scotsman, he was quite proud that almost all the improvements were from scrounged materials. The next project was a sea wall to prevent the bank from washing away. This was before the day of chain saws, so there was much physical work involved. Seventy years later, the sea wall is intact.

Since my husband and I left Seattle 62 years ago to settle in Minnesota, we have returned as often as possible. Life often intervened, but we returned with babies, during military duty, then with teenagers as vacations schedules permitted. A two-week vacation has stretched into two months or longer now that we are retired. Our children and grandchildren from Kansas, Minnesota and Washington state gather each summer at Warm Beach to recharge and relax. We are bursting at the seams, so our meals are eaten outside on tables and benches set up in the lawn. The neighbors know that summer has started when the Watson clan sets up shop!

We have no pontoon boats, motors or fishing poles. What attracts us are the mud flats. Miles and miles of wonderful, squishy mud, merging into sandy areas and interspersed with little streams of water and entertaining to all ages.

During the day, there are beach walks with logs to climb on, hikes on the many forest trails nearby, books to read, naps to take and, if the tide is in, water toys to play with. Our local son arrives bringing two sea kayaks to explore the bay looking for seals and especially sea birds. When the dinner bell rings, we gather at three picnic tables to share the evening meal. Doing dishes is fun, especially when the singing begins. Soon there is a sunset alert, and we gather on the deck to watch. We hear taps played over the water if there is a trumpet player among us. Then it is time for blackberry pie or brownies before the cards begin.

My one regret is that it is 1,700 miles away.

Mary Roening, Crystal