In 1982 my Mom and Dad took a leap of faith. They didn’t have a lot of extra money for luxuries, and it was a time when interest rates sat around 20% making credit expensive. Despite that, they decided to take a risk and purchase a cabin at the lake. From that point on, every summer of my life, I have spent time at the family cabin at Emma Lake.
The Kusch cabin at Emma was not only a place to relax and enjoy the summer but also a place to connect. From that very first summer my parents openly welcomed family and friends to stay with us. The cabin was often so full we slept on couches, floors, anywhere we could get a spot. The amazing hospitality of my parents allowed us as children to connect with aunts, uncles and cousins and taught me the value of working hard for these connections.
I use the term work because it’s not an easy task to have 15 or so people under one small roof for days at a time without city amenities close at hand. And still today, almost 30 years later, my parents continue this work so my siblings and I and our children have a place to gather and reconnect. And while I reconnect with my siblings I am also reconnecting with my past.
My boys now swim at the same beach where I first braved the diving board.
When I go for my morning run I pass the place where I had my first kiss.
My children now climb on the top bunk and reach for some of the same books and games that I did as a child
As I drove home last week from my time at the cabin I was filled with gratitude for the many months of work my parents undertake to upkeep the cabin and prepare for our large gatherings. They continue to show by example that tradition and connection are worth working for.
I know one day it will end. Mom and Dad will no longer be able to manage the cabin and my siblings and and I are too geographically scattered to take it on. But the values gathered, lessons learned and memories will last a lifetime.