My wife and I grew up on a Murray County lake — me at my grandparents’ cabin, she at the family farm just off its southeast shore. We learned to swim there, we celebrated birthdays there and — after meeting in high school — we fell in love there.
For us, Lake Sarah was always home. After dates, we’d sit on its shores and talk of life. After my grandfather passed, we sat on its shores and talked of death. When there was nothing else to do, we’d sit on the shore and talk of someday raising our children here.
We married in 2003. We took $100 in wedding gift money and put it into a bank account, with the promise to keep adding to it.
Then life happened. We chased opportunity to South Dakota, then to Wyoming, then to Kansas. We had a baby, then another, then another. We lost a second grandparent, then another, then another.
Some years ago, we landed back home in southwest Minnesota, in a town about an hour’s drive from the lake. Summer weekends were spent with our children at the lake from the comfy confines of a small camper. We swam, boated, roasted marshmallows over the campfire, and quickly outgrew our little home on wheels.
Then, late last summer, we noticed a for-sale sign propped up next to a little gray cabin. The bank account opened all those years ago was emptied, papers were signed, and our family walked through the cabin’s door for the first time last fall.
The kids ran off to explore. As my wife and I looked at the bare rooms and their walls screaming for paint, we spotted the snow-covered fire pit and frozen lake just outside the window — our window, our lake — and we smiled at each other.
Our children are going to grow up on this lake, and we couldn’t be happier.
Justin R. Lessman, Jackson, Minn.