A sign in the cabin reads, “He who cuts his own wood is twice warmed.” It has served our family well for almost 30 years. After years of camping, my parents thought it was time to stop pulling their trailer up Hwy. 61, and build a cabin on the North Shore. In 1989, near Grand Marais, they found an odd-shaped lot for $5,000 overlooking Lake Superior because, to quote our father, “I’d never be able to afford the property taxes of a lakeshore lot!”
My parents hired a company to build the log shell. They took pastries from The Loafer each morning to the builders. Dad and our brothers finished the interior with a tongue-and-groove cedar ceiling, pine cabinets, and a wood floor. There is a deer head hanging in the cabin from my father’s last hunting trip, three months before he died, with a name plate that reads “Kilt by Milt.”
Many activities have become traditions for each generation. We have played endless cribbage games. We’ve roasted marshmallows on the beach. And we’ve shared peanuts with the chipmunks while enjoying a “canuper” on the deck. We’ll never forget Mom picking raspberries on the hill in front of the cabin as a bear surveyed the lunch she was taking from it. Or looking out the cabin window and seeing a doe with a round stomach, only to later see a second set of eyes staring back at us in the dark, the obvious fawn just born. We relished many fresh salmon dinners. Today some in the family still fish in search of the one that got away.
Our parents are no longer with us, but these traditions live on through our seven siblings and families. We think our parents would be proud.
Mary Thirsten, Eagan