I bought a little cabin in the woods on a credit card once.
We were living in Kansas City, and I wanted my kids to experience nature. For weekends on end, we loaded groaning children into the van to look at parcels I’d found on the Internet. It took a year, but we eventually found 7 acres with a little cabin on it. Since the property was surrounded by 1000s of acres of forested land and priced at 42k, we pounced on it.
I thought I had everything tied up in a neat little bow when the realtor called to say the owner was having second thoughts about selling. Since the mortgage company wasn’t ready to close by the date indicated in the contract, I had to purchase it with four different zero-percent credit cards so the owner couldn’t back out.
The cabin was 400 square feet of perfection.
Built by a midwife, the attention to detail was extraordinary. It was solidly constructed, cool in summertime and warm in winter. It only had one bedroom and a loft, but the cathedral ceiling and abundant windows made it feel spacious and bright.
The land was incredible too.
It had old homesteads dotted throughout, but the only things remaining were the foundation stones and daffodils ringing where front doors once stood. The acreage included a 200-foot bluff, a few large caves, several springs, and a shallow creek that if you walked half a mile out, you came to the shore of the famous Jack’s Fork River.
We went to that cabin for a 4-day weekend every month.
We usually had eight people in tow: me and Funk, our two natural children, the two children we took in when they were eight and eleven years old, my daughter’s boyfriend, and whatever exchange student was living with us that year.
One day my son Andrew built a fire pit.
Gathering around it was the first time we noticed there were mountains in the near distance. Soon enough, Funk bought a chainsaw and cut down a bunch of saplings along the fence line to open the view.
And what a view it was!
On a nearby mountaintop stood the most magnificent Cottonwood. When the sun began its decent, that tree lit up like a tree in Heaven.
Fast forward a hundred million years, said son, now 34-years-old, called for Mother’s Day and asked what I was doing. I said I was at a BBQ with my Ceil Place friends, people I’ve known for 50 years, and then told him there was a dog running around that looked exactly like our old Lab we called Ginny-dog.
Ginny-dog had an eating disorder.
Andrew reminded me of a time when we were at the cabin and the Lab snuck into the shed and gobbled down an entire bag a dog food just as we were packing up to go home. Ginny-dog’s belly blew up to unimaginable proportions, with gas she silently released the entire five-hour ride back to Kansas City.
My son always took up the whole third row of the van, and I always knew when Ginny-dog let another one fly. Every 15 minutes or so, from my rearview mirror, I’d see Andrew shoot up in his seat and exclaim, “Vent! Vent!,” my cue to open the back window to let out the noxious fumes.
Here’s to you if you have happy memories to recall once you’ve entered the next phase of your life. And even more kudos if you think outside the box to get a job done. The mortgage for our cabin came through thirty days after we closed, at which time, I paid off the credit cards, and without paying an extra cent for interest.
The Photo: Funk at the cabin with our nearest neighbor, Tim, who lived a mile down the gravel road. And Ginny-dog looking longingly at the shed, our van in the background.
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