We made our annual trek back to Lake Metigoshe in North Dakota this summer and enjoyed the reprieve from the heat and Destin summer traffic. While there we attended a concert at the Bottineau Winter Park, which is a winter ski “resort” in the Turtle Mountains. They just built a new lodge called Annie’s House and I was so touched by the story, that I took a lot of pictures just so I could share with you!
Ann Nelson was a young 30 year old girl from North Dakota. Working an impressive job as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzergald. In New York City. On 9/11. So you know the ending without me having to tell you the tragic ending. Ann’s parents received her belongings from her apartment, including her laptop. Her mom was too sad to open up that laptop – wasn’t ready to see photos and bits of Anne’s life. It wasn’t until 2005 and 2006 that she finally was able to make it a part of her daily routine to open up Ann’s files. In 2006 she opened the file titled “Top 100″. That file turned out to be Ann’s bucket list – filled up to #36. You can read her entire bucket list here. You’ll read that her bucket list didn’t include much in the way of material things – no fancy cars or diamonds or Viking ranges – it was about helping others, spending more time with family and to someday own a house in North Dakota. Annie’s House brings three of these bucket list items to life – (1) to own a house in North Dakota (2) to helicopter ski and (2) to help a charity. Annie’s House is not only a place to warm up and get some hot chocolate after a cold day of skiing, but it is the state’s first adaptive ski lodge that teaches disabled children and wounded warriors how to ski.
So, back to the concert – we attended with the all the kids in tow – and even they sat listening to the Celtic music with interest, and looking around at the beautiful surroundings. My eyes welled with tears a few times, looking at the bucket list painted on pieces of wood in the ceiling beams, thinking that we should all live our lives in such a way that someone would build us an Annie’s House when we are gone.