My plan this morning was to head back to the cities but something changed and I'm still here, at the cabin! What the allure really is I don't know but I do know what it's not. It's not a fancy place. The total square footage is about 800 and even a specific bedroom area can't be found only space with a hide-a-bed, another bed in the same room along with the very old fieldstone fireplace alongside of the front door entrance. My bed's in a porch leading to a room surrounded by more windows overlooking the lake that includes a relatively new futon that sleeps pretty well or so I'm told. Cabin guests had better be friends prior to arrival because the only real privacy is behind the bathroom door. The kitchen, large enough for a single cook is still set in early 50's decor as is most of the interior but certainly not lacking for charm and personal memories. Originally the cabin belonged to my Aunt Jo, dad's sister and digging back into my own memory banks some earliest family recollections were here. Summer holidays were always celebrated at "the cabin," a couple miles from my boyhood home in Sauk Centre with good food, plenty of laughs, horseshoe, adult 'n kid beverages, fishing, BB gunning in the woods, swimming and more. Sometimes when I'm here alone, but for Tess 'n Snap I can almost here horseshoes clanking on the metal posts along with the voices talking about who’d partner with dad and how many points they'd be spotted. Sometimes dad and I would play each other, even with me in my 20's. He'd only count ringers and still beat me 21 to 5 or 6. Evenings would come and there'd be a fire burning in the yard and it'd be time to fish bass from the dock with a floating wooden Shakespeare mouse at an early age and the "Red Baron," a floating orange Rapala balsa minnow bait years later. As the sun set across the lake often a fish would be fooled only to become an evening meal at a later date.
My boys, Chad 'n Erik also grew up here in both summer and fall in their young years. But rather than looking forward to calm days bass fishing in that 12' 1953 Crestliner (still housed in the green shed) as I did they idled from the dock in 20+' Ranger boats that could handle any white-capped waves Sauk Lake could roll from north to south. The bass were the same, the tackle 'n techniques much different but memories made were every bit as important. As I sit here and write the loons are crying an ageless lonesome tone across a now still lake. It's almost as though their warbling calls can turn back the hands of time in my mind and I'm glad to be here.
This cabin place is often quiet especially now with both dogs sleeping. Aunt Jo's yellow steel fishing rod hangs over the French door opening with her favorite bait still tied on. Even before the days of the Green Box depth finder she and her husband Curly would troll Sauk Lake for Northerns with baits like the one hanging from the rod, a silver Red-Eye. A master of line-twists but tied to a ball-bearing leader on Dacron line much of the twisting was avoided. I'm also not sure if it was really such a great bait or if the pike population was that good but the hours spent trolling it behind a Montgomery Wards Sea King 5 1/2 horse outboard were productive that is if old black 'n white pics of fish on stringers were the measuring stick.
Erik 'n Chad grew up with Humminbird electronics, MinnKota electrics, Ranger livewells and a catch 'n release attitude that I insisted on. At a much later date they were curious when looking through Grandpa's old tackle box especially when coming across a small plastic woven cord with a sharp metal point on one end and a metal ring on the other. "What's this?" they asked never having seen a stringer before.
The cabin is the place too we'd spend the late season hunting Bluebills. It was the last area water to freeze and attracted divers on their southward migration. In front of the cabin is a long shallow sand bar allowing a man in waders to get into the lake almost 100 yards thus a great place for a diver spread. Wooden dock sections propped on the side made a great blind and the cabin fuel oil stove, which is burning as I write, warmed cold hands and toes. Those dozens and dozens of Herters diver decoys along with some old wooden Victor imitators still hang in the green metal shed near the road but the Bluebills 'n Ringnecks are long gone from the lake as is Aunt Jo, Curly and my folks. What remains are memories and maybe, just maybe that is why I’ve resisted leaving on this day!
So hopefully you’ve a bit more insight into why some Fan Outdoors broadcasts from “the cabin” are really more than just a broadcast. It’s more like a special shared component of the essence of who I am! My wish for you is that you too have a “cabin” in your past or someplace equally special and if not accept my invitation to vicariously enjoy this one on Fan Outdoors!
I really must close because it's pork chops 'n beans on the charcoal grill tonight. Both dogs have already had supper. Theirs comes earlier. You see as my wife says I'm eating on "Hildebrand Time" tonight as the sun gets ready to set across the lake! Dad preferred to often eat later on weekends so Dad this one's for you!!!! Thanks for helping me be who I've become! Love both you and mom! I will NEVER forget!