Wednesday, May 24, 2006

End of an Era

37 years ago, my parents and I built their 12x16 cabin on a sand ridge, amidst the northern MN swamps. I was 13. Every Fall and Winter weekend of my teen years was spent at the cabin. I frequently brought a friend along for the weekend. My parents bought 3 snowmobiles, and we explored every trail within a 50 mile radius. Moonlit nights would find us out for a walk amidst the sparkling snow and shadowing pines. LIFE WAS GOOD!

The second winter at the cabin, we met our closest (3 miles away) neighbors, Mark, and his newlywed son, Bob, and all their crazy friends. We have all remained close friends ever since. We've shared in the joy of the birth of Bob's two children, their weddings, and the births of their children. We've shared the sorrow of the deaths of Mark's wife and Bob.

Last weekend, Bob's son(TR) and daughter(DB) brought their kids and their mother up for a weekend visit with their northern MN family. TR has two daughters, aged 7 and 5. DB has two sons, aged 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. We all had a blast.

During one of our many heart to heart talks, TR asked me if my parents were serious about spending one more season at the cabin before they give it up. WHAT?! Why hadn't they shared this information with ME, their ONLY child?

My parents are in their 70s, and I can understand that it's getting harder for them to brave the elements each winter. My Dad has to plow a spot to park his vehicle and snowmobile trailer before they snowmobile 3 miles into their cabin. They have to haul all their water, food, and propane by sled. They have to cut wood for the barrel stove, which heats the cabin. When the temperature gets below -20F, they have to haul their generator out to their vehicle to power their block heater. I guess it's just getting to be too much for them to handle.

I understand. It's the end of an era. I only wish that my parents had the decency to tell ME about it!


At 5/24/2006 11:02 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Wow, that reminds me of the lake cabin that belonged to my grandma. We practically lived there in the summers. It wasn't much bigger than your parents' place - it didn't need to be. Those were some of the best times. Ahh, nostalgia - ain't it grand?

At 5/25/2006 3:30 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

What a sad ending to an awesome tale. You're very fortunate to have a place you have such fond memories of. It really is too bad they'll be getting rid of it. Could you find someone you know to buy it, so you still have access? Hate to see you lose access to it.

The home I lived in from '76-86, I have such fond memories of it that I still dream that I'm living there at least two or three times a year still. I even drive by it every few years. I saw it on the market years ago and seriously considered buying it.

At 5/25/2006 4:17 AM, Blogger Vest said...

Fortunately I have not seen snow for 35 years and I sure dont miss it.

At 5/25/2006 7:15 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

As much as this place means to you, it probably means as much to your parents. Maybe they've been meaning to tell you, but emotionally, just never found a way to do it. Ideally, it would be great if they could pass the place down to you and your children, but finances often interfere with such things.

I am amazed at all they do to enjoy the place and they're in their 70s!! I would find it exhausting and I'm only in my 40's. They must be in great shape. I never had a place like that for the summers. I often dreamed of places like that though.

At 5/25/2006 7:42 AM, Blogger Candace said...

What wonderful memories! :-)

Will it stay in the family?

That must have been quite ashock to hear it from someone else. Maybe they were thinking of the best way to break the news. Wow, it must be hard for them to be giving that up.

At 5/25/2006 9:22 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

You're always the last to know, eh? Sorry to hear you were shocked. Have your parents confirmed yet? Perhaps it's a misunderstanding or miscommunication?

Vest: I should move to Australia!

At 5/25/2006 1:57 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Loads of good memories and pictures, Notta.

ZS, it's on a county lease, so I don't know if they can sell it. We can't afford the snowmobiles and 4-wheelers required to get into the cabin. :(

Vest, I'd rather have snow than your heat and drought.

VV, we're all worried about what they will do with their time all winter. They've been spending 4-5 days/week there, every winter since my Dad retired.

Candace, they COULD sign it over to me, as a blood relative. Unfortunately we don't have the time or the money to maintain it. :(

WC, they're just playing head games with me. They started doing this a couple of years ago, but I refuse to play along. I just stay calm and act like none of it bothers me.

At 5/26/2006 8:41 AM, Blogger lorguru said...

Great memories. How great you could include the picture to go with the story. I hope they are just "all talk!"
PS. My long post in my blog today is all about my son and his tics. I thought you might be interested.

At 5/26/2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Davey said...

You are more tham welcome at our cottage. Just waiting for this baby to get a move on so we can get up there!!!!

At 5/26/2006 5:20 PM, Blogger SME said...

I don't know why they don't tell us stuff directly - they should know by now that we can handle it, that we're not going to freak or try to talk them out of it. But they DO tell us things indirectly, by talking to people they know will report back to us! So in a very weird way, they're telling you everything....I just wish they'd cut out the middleman.

At 5/26/2006 6:55 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Lauren, I'm so happy that you found me. I hoping we can mentor each other for a long time to come.

Davey, you never know. We might take you up on that offer some day.
Tell that little one to get moving. I can't wait to see her!

SME, it's all a power trip with them. They still can't accept the fact that I'm 50 yrs old and "buying my own socks"!

At 5/26/2006 8:36 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

So sorry you had to hear through a "third party". So many great memories. I hope it's not too hard for you.

At 5/27/2006 6:49 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Squirl. We've been facing the facts about the cabin for several years now. We're happy with our memories and pictures. ;)

At 5/27/2006 8:30 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Sorry you found out about it that way, my parents were like that too. Glad you had happy times there and have pictures...and memories...Zombieslayer's right. Hope access stays.

At 5/27/2006 9:43 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, L and I have had to come to terms with a LOT of things that we can't afford to do, like retire. We've discovered that life is FULL of tradeoffs. We compensate by thoroughly enjoying the luxuries that we have time for.

At 5/27/2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Davey said...

Seriously any time. We may not be up throught the week that often but we rarely miss a weekend. And the whole reason we own that money pit was for our kids. And she is still refusing to come out. I'm taking the Mama bus (Martha) to the farmers market today and she is gonna walk untill her water breaks!!!! Or untill she says it's time to leave. Rule #1 right ;)

At 5/27/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Good strategy Davey! SME was 2 1/2 weeks overdue. L wouldn't let me do ANYTHING strenuous during the pregnancy. Once the due date passed, he wanted me to start lifting everything in sight.
Rule #1 ALWAYS works, especially during pregnancy and menopause! ;)

At 5/28/2006 10:38 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Oh well, I suppose an invigorating hike in the snow is Ok providing there is a warm cuddle to be expected in the love shack.
In the meanwhile, for me, it's a walk in the sun greeted by a beer in the fridge.

At 5/29/2006 8:17 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Vest, the temp in the cabin is usually 90F. Barrel stoves put out a LOT of heat!
We never have a problem keeping the beer cold out there. ;)

At 5/29/2006 10:31 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Damn, it sucks when age brings on such big changes. And it sucks worse when you are an adult with kids of your own and your parents still treat you like children.

Ever think of taking it over and renting it out on the weeks you don't occupy it? Could probably ge t premium price during deer and bear season.

btw, you don't put blackberry brandy in the punch, you drink it as a chaser! Kinda like a beer and a bump.

At 5/29/2006 11:11 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

You pegged it GWB!! I'm 50, with a grown kid. I've NEVER asked my folks to bail us out of ANYTHING. Why do they still think I'm incompetent? I've NEVER treated SME this way. Maybe that's because I learned from my parent's bad example? ;)

Renting out the cabin would be a great idea. Unfortunately, they don't own it outright; it's on a county lease. :(

beer and a bump=Black and Brew up here...a very popular winter drink.
I still think a bump of Black would add something to Sangria. ;)

At 6/05/2006 4:36 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Some good news, and how are you all in the sticks of M N, enjoying nice summer weather are you, thats nice to know, liked your bit about the stove keeping you warm. You see its all about relativity and body temps adjusting to the enviroment, in the last house we used a enclosed wood fire in the house over 5 months of the cooler months A/c & fans for summer, now R/S Air con, Too lazy(Old)to hump wood anymore, our temps range from 35F to 105F, it all boils down to relativity and adjusting to the temp range, at a guess I would quote yours at around 15F to 90F.
However, today on the sunny central coast of NSW OZ it is piddling down with rain and has been for the past 4 days and the midday temp of 50-60f and overnight as low as 40, we are now approaching mid winter, despite my flu shot I have the flu bug, but I must confess I really do miss that wood fire, enjoy your summer lucky people.


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