When my dad was 6, he and my grandfather drove to McGregor, Minn., to find a cabin lot on Lake Minnewawa. There was a gas ration at the time because of the war, so it took Grandpa awhile to come up with gas to make the drive from south Minneapolis where they lived. They looked and found a lot. Their family put up a one-room cabin. My dad and Grandpa slept in their car while they built the cabin with their family.
My dad has many vivid memories of his childhood summers spent at the lake. My great-grandmother was an expert fisherman, and they spent many hours fishing. They used cane fishing poles. They rowed to most parts of the 2,355-acre lake. About five years later, they bought their first 3-horsepower motor. My dad said he felt as if he was the luckiest kid around.
My dad tells of a story of the history of what was known as Milkman’s Bay. In 1940, the people on the lake ordered milk. The milkman would travel through this bay to deliver his goods.
My dad would look at the stars on clear nights, and learned all the different constellations and stars. The family also watched the wild rice beds grow and get harvested in the fall. They loved catching big bullheads and baking them over a fire for an evening meal.
In 1989, my dad and mom bought the cabin. We took down the original and also bought a cabin next door. My mom and dad had my brother, sister, and our families up all the time.
Their eight grandchildren loved going up to the lake with their “Grammy and Pappy.” The grandchildren were taught to enjoy nature, and loved to take walks with Grammy and pick wildflowers and strawberries. Their Grammy loved loons, and they would enjoy evenings watching the loons dive and call.
In 2003, my dad had our cabin taken down to its foundation. With contractors, his kids and his grandchildren, he built a new cabin.
My dad is now 83, and he enjoys seeing his great-grandchildren enjoy the cabin! As I grow older and watch my 2-year old granddaughter enjoy the cabin, I love the place even more.
Annette Olson, Coon Rapids