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We bought our cabin near Aitkin, Minn., in the summer of 1990. It was perfect for us: close to the lake; sandy beach; two log cabins (one is a bunkhouse) built in 1930 and 1950; really cute. It needed care, but the loving care became a joy to do because of what we were creating.

Then, in the fall of the same year, I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. Would I even get one summer at our new piece of earthly heaven? My husband, Elgin, said, “Let’s go to the lake. There’s no cancer at the lake.” The cabin became a healing refuge, a place where connection with God and each other were welcome gifts. I’ve obviously been blessed with more years, and the cabin has always remained a place of provision.

Then came the best that everyone’s cabin offers. There was quality family and friend time, when we disengaged from our busy lives and found time to listen to one another and enjoy each other. Nothing is better.

The grandkids are now grown or too busy with school activities. And we are older and projects grew harder. We sold the cabin last summer to a younger family, and pray they enjoy the space as much as we did.

We’re grateful for our time on Dam Lake and memories as plentiful and beautiful as the stars in the night sky: diamonds on the lake; watching the loons; our eagles that graced our lives; collecting agates on our many walks; sitting around the campfire or on the dock; playing games; and our 10 summers of “Cousin Camp,” as we called it. All magical.

Sally Manhard, Edina