Now that winter reality has set in with my favorite place closed down and locked for the next 4 months or so my thoughts wander to years gone by and perhaps why this is a special place to me.  It certainly isn’t fancy actually very modest but clean with amenities making it comfortable but it’s age is beginning to show on parts of it.  My Aunt Jo, a first grade teacher owned it before us but has been a part of my earliest and fondest childhood memories.  However the original owner, who I’ve only heard stories about lived in the oldest portion year round.  Water comes from an artesian well that flows year round but originally ran through a pipe to an ice box and out to a small stone-lined cement pond before exiting into the lake.  The cold water kept food from freezing in winter and cool in summer.  An effective concept but now has given way to standard electric appliances. 

As a child our entire family lived in and around Sauk Centre so the cabin became a gathering spot for family celebrations like birthdays, the 4th, weekends and our family vacations, such as they were.  There weren’t many weekends not filled with family, laughter, smiles, horse shoes, fishing, swimming, foolishness, boats, dogs, camp fires, food, drink, family and good times.  Bass fishing was excellent along the weedy shorelines, we kids endlessly fished sunnies from the dock with worms dug under leaf litter along wooded edges of the yard.  Hot dogs roasted on sharpened willow sticks were a lunch staple along with pan-fried burgers and prowling the surrounding woods with Daisy BB guns was almost as common as sunnies on worm-baited hooks.  I learned to use a baitcaster from that dock and to pilot a 12’ 1954 Crestliner with 5 ½ horse Johnson on Sauk Lake.  Countless adventures were had at the cabin in and around there.  Years passed, family members aged but the cabin was a constant as were the good times that continued.  With college degree in hand I left for a career beginning in the Twin Cities as a public school teacher.  But returned most every weekend fishing in summer, hunting each fall.  A favorite late season spot was the cabin with diver decoys on the sandbar in front hiding behind propped up dock sections for blinds.  Shooting then was fast at the small black n white rockets as they made migration stops on the lake.  The cabin offered a warm escape from the cold north winds but the ducks flew and there were lots of them.  But then as now eventually things were unplugged, drained and closed for winter as it is now.

Marriage and a family began with older family members, including mom, dad and Aunt Jo passing but not wanting to forget or leave behind we purchased the cabin keeping it in the family even as it got smaller.  My boys Erik and Chad have known the cabin from the times they were born.  They learned to fish, pilot a boat, the very same one but now with a 15 horse, shoot a BB gun, build a campfire, water ski, roast hot dogs, celebrate holidays, enjoy weekends and hunt.  But the divers no longer come so those dekes have hung in the old shed for years.  However we still check the lake just in case.  Family has gotten small replaced by visiting friends that enjoy and still experience the same great times but it’s simply a different day.

My sincerest hope is that the boys have loved the cabin experience as much as I have and when my time here is passed the place I call “the cabin” will be theirs and their families will love, experience it, learn and have as much fun as I’ve had too.  At times if I turn quickly I can, for just a moment see dad rounding the corner on way to the lake.  Perhaps they will have a similar memory sometime just not too soon!  At least I hope so.

It is my hope that you too have a similar place that you can experience and love but if not I’ll keep telling you about the adventures it offers here and on Fan Outdoors!

All the best!