You know how sometimes you get blindsided by something? Something that you KNEW but you just hadn't really processed? Well, I had one of those moments today.
The picture above is one of my favorites. I am actually the baby, sitting on my mom's lap (and sort of blocked by the salt and pepper shakers). This picture was taken in the summer of 1955. I know the date because of my age! I am not yet 1. Left to right in the picture is my sister Karen, brother Jerry, then brother Greg, my mom and I and on the end, my sister Julie. One of the reasons I love this picture SOOOOOO much is that it was taken "at the Lake" - Lake Maud, Minnesota. The cabin you see in the background was built by my dad. Every board, every nail was put there by him. When my dad returned from serving in World War II, my parents began to think about having a place to vacation. My mom often said that they knew they could not afford to go away for vacations, but having a cabin seemed like an option. I heard the story about my uncles (who lived in that area) bringing my dad to the farmer who had decided to begin to sell lots on the lake on his property. And how my dad walked through the woods to find just the perfect lot. And it certainly was a choice lot on that lake. My mom and dad purchased that lot in 1950 but it took them 3 years to pay off the lot so that they could begin building. The first part of the cabin was started in 1953 and completed in 1954. The first picture of the cabin with the family standing by it, was taken in late August of 1954. My mom is hiding in the very back of that picture because she didn't want to be "seen", as pregnant as she was! I was born on September 6th. I know I have seen that picture, but I don't have it. Since I was not "in" it, I am sure one of my siblings has that photo. That explains why the above picture is so special to me. I think it is the first photo of me at the Lake.
That cabin was really my "home". It was a constant in my life that included many moves. The Lake - the cabin - was always there. There were so many family gatherings, so many reunions, so much fun. My dad loved being there. There was always a project or two that needed fixing or something to be built. I don't think I can recall a summer without a project until the very end of my dad's life. And even then, when he was in a wheelchair, he had visions of what needed to be done. Over the years there were rooms added. And I remember when we got running water. And then the next year HOT water in the kitchen sink! (So you didn't have to heat water to wash the dishes). It wasn't until I was married that there was "indoor plumbing" - a bathroom. Otherwise it was the outhouse. This was a cabin. Not a lake home. Small and crowded but wonderful. I can still smell the aroma of wet tennis shoes drying out on a kerosene stove. I remember the year that my dad put the knotty pine paneling in the living room. It was one of the hottest summers we had ever had. My dad sweated his way through that project. Yep, this was where so many of my family memories were made. One of the last major projects on the house was a screened in porch. That porch was amazing. The hours that we sat out there, after dark and just talked. And laughed.
But life happens. My siblings and I all grew up and had families and work and responsibilities. Many of us moved far away. And the cabin sat empty for long stretches. Even after my dad died, my mom continued to go to the Lake. Thanks to my brother Jerry, she went until the very end of her life. Then my brothers continued to use the cabin for a couple of weeks each year. Well today I found out that the cabin has been sold. I am glad that my brothers are not worried about the maintenance and upkeep anymore. But I admit I got a little chocked up hearing that it was no longer in our family. And I felt a little blindsided by this news. I don't know why. I knew that my brothers were talking about selling and even my mom had been suggesting the sale before her death. But I guess the reality just hit me. So I felt a little blind-sided.
It has been good for me tonight to remember. To think about and hold on to the memories of the cabin on Lake Maud. And to celebrate my family. So once again, I am so thankful for pictures and treasured memories. I am especially grateful for the vision that my dad and mom had of the kind of place that the Lake became for us. You know that God is in those kind of decisions. For almost 60 years our family was blessed with this gathering place. Yahweh, thank you for your destiny for my family that included Lake Maud. I pray that the new owners of this wonderful little cabin find not only love, joy and peace there, but also you Yahweh. Thank you for my family.