Growing up with a cabin we visited nearly every weekend, I view my childhood as close to idyllic.  Our cabin-life traits included friendship, solitude, self-reliance, and passing the time unhurriedly.  At the Flat Lake cabin, it was our chance to be apart from our usual fast lane work/school life. It was not out of character to find us taking pleasure in naps. 

  Mom was sleeping, luckily she woke up in a good mood.

Mom was sleeping, luckily she wakes up in a good mood...sometimes

The best time to ski - on glass

It is true we may have woken up at 6am to take advantage of water-skiing on the glassy lake, and there were chores like cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood, and cat-napping once or twice a day was a luxury.  Our family of 8 spent countless hours together cooking, cleaning, reading, playing Uno and card games like spoons.  My parents originally moved a trailer to this property and eventually built a cabin that still stands today.

Jerry smiling in front of mobile home first cabin

cabin being built

Occasionally we kids had the opportunity to invite a friend for the weekend, and my parents enjoyed opening our cabin-home to our family friends.

Harris kids and Kishida cousins

Harris kids & Kishida kids.

 Kathy and Pam with young Traci and Leonard

Kathy with little T3 & family friend Pam with little Leo.

Many of my fondest memories center around these weekends, and many of the family traditions I can think of are connected, like Friday night beef stew, the right of passage around age 10 of learning to water ski,

JB water-skiing with pwc spotter behind

JB on one of his early water-ski ventures.

the aforementioned spoons games, and feeding the “swamp monster” rocks.  We were able to unplug from the rest of the world, and concentrate on each other.  Now, if together got to be overwhelming, the outdoors was close at hand with the surrounding wood, and there was a lake to explore or just sit and ponder.  Since we were more than 6 lake miles from a truck and then time to stores, we had to plan out carefully what we needed, and if things broke down we had to fix it on the spot or make plans to figure out a fix for the future.

I gained many skills there, such as how to drive an outboard w/steering handle, how to drive a boat with a steering wheel, how to drive a watercraft when you are pulling skiers or tubers, how to safely spot for skiers

JB water-skiing with pwc spotter behind

(The pwc in the back ground isn’t just jumping wake, they are also watching out for the skier.)

or tubers when in a boat or personal water craft(pwc) , how to swim, how to make corned beef and cabbage on a wood stove, how to catch and capture a shrew with the help of a dog and a broom, how to use pulleys to move snowmachines from one floor to the second floor, how to chop wood, how to shovel snow so as not to collapse a deck, how to be responsible with your water toys,

Five Harris kids

how to clear a snow berm on a snowmachine,

cleaning out something that was sucked up the intake on pwc

how to extract weeds from the intake of a pwc,

how to keep your boat in good condition over the years, how to land on an inclined dock and barely get wet while skiing, how to share your friends with others, and many others.  I think about my idyllic childhood and how to recreate that for my kids.

3 youngest Harris kids dirty

Youngest Harris kids loved to play in the dirt, the story goes once they were so muddy and dirty right before leaving the cabin that they were dressed in garbage bags so as to contain their mess from all other surfaces.

 I do realize you don’t need a cabin to have a great childhood/life, and there were many hard parts to having a cabin/second home I didn’t realize growing up (utilities, taxes, planning, winterizing, wear and tear being near water, no road access, duplicate items, expenses related to boats, pwc, etc.), but oh that cabin-life. 

As Ever – T3