OPINION: Red, white, clear blue water

Photo credit: Mark Nelson | The Collegian

The Fourth of July is a holiday that truly unifies us as a country. No matter where you live in this beautiful land, the Fourth is synonymous with food, family and fireworks.

In order for the holiday to to celebrated authentically, it also needs to involve some sort of travel. The American Automobile Association estimates that over 40 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles to celebrate this year. The best place to honor our nation’s freedom is on a lake, it brings the whole Boston Tea Party event full circle.

One of the greatest adjustments I had to make moving to Kansas was the change in scenery. I am not talking about the flat-reputation Kansas gets; Minnesota is actually geographically flatter than Kansas. I’m talking about the lack of lakes.

Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but in reality we actually have 11,842. To put it in perspective, that’s about 11,822 more than Kansas. With that many lakes, you can only imagine how many cabins there are in Minnesota.

The lake brings the fireworks component to a whole new level. My cabin is on a huge lake with various islands in the center. These islands provide the perfect location to set off fireworks, and the starry sky is the perfect backdrop. While it is acceptable to watch the display from a porch or a dock, you have not lived until you see Fourth of July fireworks from a boat. However, if you’d rather stay on shore, you can roast your marshmallows to booming surround sound.

Independence Day food know no bounds at a cabin. We have S’Mores galore, and if you happen to burn one you can just chuck it into the dark blue abyss. While burgers and corn on the cob are the traditional go-to food, there’s nothing like the fresh fish you can catch right off your dock. Kansas has got nothing on Minnesota walleye.

The appreciation for food is much greater in a small cabin-town too because there are many restaurants beyond fast-food chains. We cook almost all our meals at our home when we’re up north. Last summer I made homemade ice cream sandwiches complete with fresh cookie chip cookies and made from scratch ice cream. The menu aside, the food significance is greater because of the people I get to share it with.

Celebrating the fourth would mean a whole lot less without my family, and nothing says I love you like a four hour drive in a suburban packed with six kids, two dogs, and eight people’s luggage. Once we get to our cabin cell phones are put down, the internet is slow, and I do not mind one bit. Almost every dinner up north concludes with my stomach hurting from laughing so hard. I am convinced that cabins have a force that draws families closer together.

At my cabin, we have a plaque that reads, “If you are lucky enough to be on the lake, you are lucky enough.” So, give yourself a little extra luck this Independence Day and get yourself to a lake, it’s worth the trip.

Mallory Diekmann is a junior in agricultural communications and journalism.