What is a cabin?

1. A place set aside for deep relaxation.

2. A space in your life to be yourself.

3. A welcoming destination for family, friends, and friends of family.

4. An everyday place — no frills or formality.

5. A place without boundary.

6. A home on retirement.

7. A launchpad for travel.

Our cabin in northwestern Wisconsin was each of these for 28 years.

At first we enjoyed it just the way it was. Then as grandchildren were born, we built bedrooms and a bath in the basement. Dad/Grandpa built a full HO-scale model railroad layout, tracks weaving through tiny towns, lakes woods and mountains.

The summer memories: Imaginative sand castles; a birch branch clubhouse; tiny fairy houses tucked into a tree base; canoeing, rowing and paddle boating; bonfires and picnics; and, once, an astronomer’s sky lecture.

In fall, raking oak leaves never seemed like work, nor did cutting and splitting wood for the winter ahead. We made cross-country ski trails through “the back 40.” The young built tunnels and forts when the snowplow pushed the snow into mountains.

The cabin was perfect for old-fashioned holiday celebrations year-round. Our family favorite was a Saint Lucia candlelight breakfast. How great it was to cut our Christmas trees in our woods.

In spring, trillium was abundant. In summer we raced the bear for berries. We planted, although we knew that some plants would be deer dinner.

“MorFar (Mothers’Father) Clan Days” were a highlight of summer. We gathered to create wild clamor. The generations competed in imaginative relay races on the lake, in the garden and through the woods. There was swimming, biking, boating, writing poetry, and composing songs.

Now we have happy memories, great photos and a stuffed journal. We truly loved our cabin!

Linnea Olesen, minneapolis