Independance Day

Independence day is a great day of celebration for many American's. It means different things for many people, for me it means a three hour drive up to the cabin, a family reunion and delicious family recipes that are only made when we are "Up North."

Up North, is a term used in Minnesota to describe the place where your summer cabin is.  It's like when rich people on either coast, speak of "summering" someplace.  Except we don't summer, we go up north.  We use the term in place of the name of the town our cabin is located.  For instance, if you were from Wisconsin, one might say, "I'm going to Park Rapids this weekend."  In Minnesotan, we  say, "I'm going up north this weekend."  Up North is all that's really necessary.  There is no need to share any more than that.

Going "Up North" is a rite of passage all families have to go through in order to call themselves a true Minnesotan family.  Every cabiner, remembers the long car rides, the endless fighting with siblings; sitting far too close in an un air conditioned station wagon and stressed out parents, causes such havoc to the family unit that I think when you finally pull up to cabin and the lake looms in front of you, you  are so grateful to be out of the car, that you think you have entered a promise land.  Suddenly no cable, mosquitoes that look like birds and questionable septic tanks seem like paradise.

My girlfriend is not native to Minnesota.  She wasn't very impressed by the thought of going to the cabin.  "What exactly do you do there, anyway?", she said one day unenergetically as I was trying to sway her to spend our vacation time there.  At first I was incredulous.  Who doesn't know what you do at the cabin.  I explained that you read, craft, fish, go on walks and the best is when you get to "go to town."  Once a day or maybe every other day, someone goes into town.  Town, is the main street of the closest small town, where you shop, stroll the boulevard or maybe catch a movie.  You get ensconced in the local community and just remember to slow down a bit.  It's like being shot with a tranquilizer gun, but in a fun way.

In my family, every fourth of July we have a family reunion.  Every other year it alternates between my Grandfather's side and my Grandmother's side.  It's great, each side is amazing.  Each side arrives  bearing salads, casseroles and dessert bars.  Suddenly you're bosom buddies with family you probably wouldn't recognize if you passed each other on the street. You are free.  The only rules are: you can't track in sand and you have to shut the screen door gently.  Not too shabby.

This year I couldn't make it up to the reunion.  I sent my daughter to represent.  She called home to report that she had 113 mosquito bites and was going to town to see a movie with Grandma and Grandpa and was hoping to get a cone on the way home.  Some things should never change.  Ever.

My daughter and each of my cousin's children fishing at "The Cabin."