So, the story goes that great-Aunt Evelyn found the cabin on Long Lake for sale in 1954. It had a sandy beach and large front yard. She mentioned it to her brother Cecil. Then, Cecil put great-Grandma Lottie in the car and headed to Park Rapids, Minn., to buy it before Evelyn could make an offer. Gus and Ruby then bought it in the '70s. They added a second cabin and, with it, the sauna (shown above at right).
In addition to the eight children of Gus and Ruby, there are 20 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. When everyone, including the spouses are present, we number about 50. It is always a party.
I love reading Cabin Country. It's fascinating to read about the different ways families enjoy their cabins. Our family doesn't fish much. Mostly we spend our time cutting and planting trees, working on the cabins, hanging out with the cousins and, in the sauna, resolving the world's issues.
Oh, about the mystical sauna — in our family there are myriad political leanings, all of which are voiced and firmly ridiculed. The Packers and Vikings fans try to keep their thoughts to themselves. Managing and running two cabins can create many points of contention. It's the sauna where we work together to keep moving in the right direction. Compromise is had after a beer or two.
Gus, a Green Bay Packers draftee in 1957, died this year at age 85. Our duty is to continue his legacy. But we may struggle with his favorite pastime: raking the woods.
Paul Walker, Minneapolis