My mom pursued her dreams tenaciously. For years she stored household items in the basement with hopes of furnishing a cabin.

Various reasons, including my dad's reservations about cabin ownership and its commitments, prevented serious inquiries into a cabin purchase, but my mom diligently watched vacation home ads. In March 2000, as my dad was recovering from surgery and unable to drive, my mom told him and her septuagenarian mother that they were "going on a ride" and drove them to McGregor, Minn., to look at cabin properties.

The first cabin they saw disappointed and discouraged them. At the next property, they trudged through heavy snow down a long driveway to find a modest cabin nestled in the woods on a small lake. The cabin, recently remodeled, sparkled in my mom's eyes. Although snow and ice covered the lake and shoreline, friends in McGregor told them it was a lovely location. My mom had to have it and my dad relented. Their instincts were accurate: The cabin is on a beautiful lake with abundant, accessible lakeshore.

The original cabin has grown into what is sometimes called "the compound." My parents built an addition and eventually bought the adjacent property with a small cabin and an A-frame structure.

Four generations of family and numerous friends have enjoyed the cabin for over 20 years. My dad is the cabin's most enthusiastic cheerleader. Time spent together has brought family members closer. Favorite activities include children cuddling with Grandpa, pontoon rides, tubing, fishing, chopping wood, sauna "baths," swimming, bonfires, gourmet meals, games, and ATV and snowmobile excursions.

My mom died in 2012, but her dream of cabin ownership and her legacy live on in the family cabin tradition. As one grandson memorialized, "I have boatloads of great memories."