It was 1985, and my husband was at the courthouse paying our taxes. He ran into the owner of a resort that we frequented on Oak Island in Lake of the Woods. The owner was complaining about the amount of taxes. My husband said he would be interested in buying the small piece of land at the end of the resort property. They agreed, shook hands, and my husband came home a lake property owner.

We made plans to build our cabin when we could, which was three years later. As it was on an island, everything — every piece of lumber, windows, doors, beds, appliances, food, etc. — was transported 6 miles to the property in our boat. Our sons learned the value and result of hard work. In a future property swap, we added a small neighboring cabin.

Our two sons grew up there fishing, water skiing, swimming and enjoying all the activities a lake property offers. There are oddities: the squeaky kitchen drawer, the extra fridge door that needs to be held shut on the bottom with a jug, the projects that remain unfinished.

Yet, we can sleep in a bed, stay dry when it rains, cook a good meal and sit around the table on the deck enjoying time with family and friends. I have started my seventh bulletin board containing pictures of the history of our time at the cabin. These are the things that matter.

Our oldest son, wife and family recently bought a lot and are building a cabin on a nearby island.

Our youngest son, wife and family are remodeling the small cabin acquired in the property swap for their use. Between them, we have five grandchildren. They love it at the lake, too.

We are hoping the enjoyment of something that started so unexpectedly continues for generations to come.

Cindi Mertins, Roseau