Tales from the Cabin
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Cabinitis: Family Reunion

Every weekend can be a mini-reunion

By Lars F
Published: June 1, 2005
Photo by Cabin Life, Cabin Living
We’re having a family reunion this summer over the Fourth of July weekend. Family members will be coming to Minnesota from as far away as Florida and British Columbia to attend the reunion. All told, there will be 60-some people here.
We’ve only done this once before and that was a goodly number of years ago.
Of course, I immediately thought we should have the reunion at the cabin. There are lots of things for people to enjoy there: swimming, boating, water sports, fishing and, in general, a very welcome respite from everyday life. For many cabin owners, a crowd this size could probably be accommodated with some advance planning and preparation.
But in my case, I had to face the fact that the cabin wasn’t going to work for that large a crowd. It’s not because the accommodations aren’t adequate for everyone during the day. They are. Between the deck, the gazebo, the dock, the lakeshore and the cabin, there’s plenty of room.
The problem comes at night. The cabin plus the bunkroom plus some spillover sleeping areas can accommodate roughly 20 nighttime visitors – and that’s crowding a bit.
In another area, this might not be a problem. You’d simply arrange for some accommodations at hotels, motels or lodges in the area for the rest of the visitors. In my case, how-ever, the cabin is so remote that there are very few accommodations within 50 miles and, in the summer, those accommodations are normally full up, full time.
So for this year’s reunion, we will all gather at a lakeside park in our old hometown where adequate lodging exists.
I was quite disappointed when I realized we really couldn’t use the cabin for this reunion. But then a thought hit me, and it brightened my mood considerably.  
Our cabin already is a year-round family reunion center. Hardly a week goes by without the cabin being enjoyed by some members of the family.
If you were to venture up there in the winter, you would likely find even the bunk room full of young (mostly male) avid ice fishermen bunked out for two or three days at a time. The snowmobiles get heavy use during that period of the year.
In the summer, the cabin is even more crowded with family members. Now, particularly, is the time for the grandchildren. The shouts of children splashing in the water, scrambling onto swimming rafts, or throwing sticks off the dock for the dogs ­– all these are sounds to cherish.
I think my son and his wife exemplify how the bonds and excitement of family togetherness can make any weekend feel like a family reunion.
Those two are avid fans of late evening fishing, and they produce some remarkable results. When they started taking their nephew, their niece and their not-quite 2-year-old along, I really wondered how these late nights could ever work.
The first time they went out, they returned well after midnight with several fish and a wide-awake crew! I had forgotten how much the love of fishing can make a child forget about sleeping. And if the fishing is slow, a little makeshift bed on one of the boat seats seems to fit the bill nicely.
As a result, the days at our cabin are largely given over to water-romping pursuits, hiking, berry picking, sunning and, of course, napping. Then, dinner is served early and out go the budding anglers to try their luck again.
So, even though I’m disappointed in not being able to host the larger reunion, I can take pleasure in remembering all the mini-reunions that happen at the cabin throughout the year. In reality, what more can a person ask? (Well, let’s see. If we added two more bedrooms to the south side of the cabin, enlarged the bunkroom, purchased a pontoon boat and …)

Lars F. has refused the 12-step plan to control his cabinitis. Only his first name is used to protect his identity.
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