Thinking of Our Summer Cabin at the Lake

I like to think of the cabin at this time of year after the leaves are gone from the trees.

Paul’s father and mother built the cabin in Wisconsin. There are many photo albums there; one contains pictures of the cabin in various stages of construction. There’s a particular one I can think of right now, where Paul’s Mom–Ruth–is sitting on top of the roof smiling away. The photograph is taken near the cabin’s completion in 1967.

When you head out the front door and turn right, you walk down an incline that boasts a little garden hugging the house. The base of the house is made of boulders cemented together. I think of this as Ruth’s wall, because everyone in Paul’s family tells stories of Ruth building it. But everyone also tells stories of Paul’s father, Winton, masterminding the whole family project. He was a perfectionist, which is why the cabin is so well put-together now.

In this day and age, it’s such a cool thing to be able to say, my mother and father built this house. Paul and his two sisters, Carol and Ellen, can say that.

The family is rapidly expanding: three new babies in one year! This coming summer there will be at least eighteen of us there in the second week in July.

I remember one year, when Paul and I were visiting his parents in winter, we suddenly decided to get in the car and drive the two hours to the cabin. We trudged through snow up to our kneecaps. It took a long time to walk the twenty-five feet to the cabin. When we finally got there, Winton sort of patted the door. Then, the four of us turned around and trudged back to the car.