Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids.


A compilation of stories and lessons learned

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Cabin


As mentioned before, Minnesota is known as ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes’.  As any place’s surroundings become its livelihood, the lakes were naturally ours.  Not only were they profit for tourism and the local economy, they were also the native Minnesotan’s source of food, entertainment, and enrichment.  For this reason, most locals either lived on or near a lake, or had a cabin or beach nearby to which they would travel.  Our Cabin has been in our family for what is going on four generations now. 

The Cabin, which sits on a perfect fishing and swimming lake, was actually the one-bedroom home to my grandma and her many sisters and brothers.  The house was later moved to this piece of land on the lake that she and my grandpa bought as adults.  Through much hard work, it has become a beautiful little white cottage that sits on the sandiest shorelines around. 

The place bursts with memories of water-skiing, fishing, boating, hide-n-seek freeze tag, campfires, fireworks, picnics, and fireflies.  This was our vacation spot every warm weekend that the Minnesota summer’s permitted.  This was where our family came together as a family.  To all that continue to enjoy the cabin, it is a place unlike no other.


Now for someone that is unattached to these magical generations of memories, they may not see the place as anything too special.  As I said, the house is very old, and continues to get bandaged together year after year to make it last as long as possible.  I’m sure one of the most interesting kickers is that we actually do not have running water at the cabin.  After all, who needs running water when you have a lake 20 feet in front of you full of fresh water?!

Actually, fresh running water would be great; I’m not going to lie.  However, it’s something we just were accustomed to.  There were several workarounds:  We had a sink that would drain, so if we needed to do dishes, we’d just boil some lake water.  We’d always bring our own drinking water.  Every store in the world loves to sell water to any sucker that will pay for something they could get just as well for free. (At least that’s my dad’s opinion)  When we need a shower, we grab a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soap and dive in off of the end of the dock.  And of course when we have to use the restroom, we used the ever-popular outhouse.  

Yes, we have an outhouse.  It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I realized that not everyone has their own outhouse out back.  (My dad came home with an outhouse one day to put in the backwoods as if it were the greatest idea he had ever had.  I believe this stems solely off of the frustration of having to live with four women in a single-bathroom home.)

It has been great entertainment on my end trying to teach my little ‘city kids’ how to use an outhouse.  Yes, you have no choice to tolerate the smell, bring a flashlight at night, and tolerate the mosquitoes and/or other lovely creatures of nature.  Of course my aunt tries to pretty up the place and put smell-goodies in it.  In reality, she is just putting perfume on a pig.  There is only so much you can do, although the efforts never go unappreciated.


The following is an excerpt of a conversation with one of my friends who grew up in L.A. as we were exchanging stories of our childhood:

D:  So, let me get this straight- It’s just... a hole in a building?
Me:  Yes, It’s just a hole.
D:  That you sit on?
Me:  Well, yes.  Eventually we upgraded and got toilet seats. 
D:  And then when you were done- how did you- flush it?
Me:  You didn’t flush it.
D:  It just sat there?  What happens when ‘it’ filled all the way to the top?
Me:  Well, I guess that just didn’t happen.  It just decomposes or something.  I guess I never really thought that much about it.

Our conversation continued along this topic for a bit to which it then made a turn to questions regarding her childhood in L.A.:

D:  Yeah, it became such a common thing to have drive-bys at our parties; we just had to be sure to not linger in the yards for too long.  You were much more of a target then.
Me:  You would seriously have people drive up and randomly shoot guns at you?!?
D:  Yes, it was usually just stupid gang stuff.  They rarely would hit anyone.  At least not life threatening injuries, anyways.  We just had to be sure never to wear colors like red or black.  So you would seriously have to worry about bats and spiders when you went to the bathroom at night?  I don’t know how you could handle that.

It was then that I realized that I suppose everyone faces their own obstacles growing up.  I have since become quite thankful that I had bats and spiders to deal with instead of drive-bys, pedophiles, and wearing the wrong colors. (I love red!!)  While our ‘vacation’ home wasn’t a condo in the Keys and no, it didn’t have running water, I never felt like I grew up missing out on anything.  I didn’t know any different.

Now that I have a family of my own- we have taken our vacations to Disney and Ocean City.  However, I still think our best memories are our summer vacations spent at The Cabin on the lake.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to give my ‘city’ children the opportunities to fall asleep listening to the frogs and learn how to water-ski (where rest assured they do not have to worry about jellyfish or sharks).  I’d like to think that using an outhouse where they must dodge spiders and bats in the middle of the night can only build character.

To know who I am and where I came from, you must know The Cabin.

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