For 21 years, Lake Mille Lacs was our go-to place for one or two weeks every summer. We were grateful to have friends who had two adjacent cabins. We would rent one.

The drive there was only 45 minutes from Mora, but later turned into a four-hour drive when we moved up to the real northern reaches of Minnesota. Still, the drive did not hinder anyone from going down to the lake.

Our family of seven, plus spouses, grandkids and kids' friends, all drove down to visit or stay.

The older kids loved to walk down to Malmo Market to look for treasures in the old general store. They made friends with other kids who were visiting their grandparents a few cabins down. They played cards with an older couple two cabins down.

We snorkeled, played paddle ball over the dock, sunned in inner tubes, canoed, kayaked — and ate way too much! It was a time we stepped into our other familiar world of friends and fun.

The cabins now are sold. Like our family, time has moved on, but it is a rare time when summer comes and someone doesn't ask, "Remember when ... ?"

We all remember when, and are happy to have had those days with floor-dwelling little bodies sound asleep, with marshmallow still on their faces and fingers. It was the best.

Jan Eriksen, Thief River Falls, Minn.