By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN There’s a lucky, pig-tail-wearing, Curious George-loving, 2-year-old girl in Delano.
Her name is Maddison Meister, and sheer proof that she is daddy’s little girl is right in her backyard.
Though it is not yet completed, an impressive playground is in the works, and all designed and built by Kaj Meister for his daughter.
With two slides, a bridge, swings, and much more to be added, the Meister backyard is sure to be a favorite spot for neighborhood children.
“I started building it a month ago,” said Kaj Meister. “I only build it on weekends so it’s a work in progress.”
Meister, the son of Ed and Lynne Meister of Delano, graduated from Delano High School in 1993.
His mother used a Swedish calendar to name her children, and still uses it to suggest names for grandchildren or even pets.
Originally, Kaj thought he wanted to be a chiropractor, but changed his mind and ended up working for his father in construction.
Following in his father’s footsteps, for the past eight years he has owned and operatorated Kaj Meister Development.
As a general contractor, he keeps busy with projects such as additions or remodeling, and has enjoyed putting his knowledge and experience into the backyard play area, as well.
A lifelong Delano resident, he always knew this was where he’d want his children to grow up and attend school.
His wife, Amy (Volkenant) Meister couldn’t agree more.
“Oh, we aren’t going any-where,” she said. “We love it here.”
Amy is a 1994 Rockford High School graduate who played a lot of softball.
“She was an ace pitcher,” Kaj said. “She made varsity in eighth grade.”
Now, Amy is a dental hygenist who admits, proudly, her only hobby is her daughter.
The walls of their home are decorated with adorable pictures of Maddison, making it clear who the princess of the Meister castle is.
As a couple, one of Kaj and Amy’s favorite things to do is travel to places like Mexico and Costa Rica, but they admit since becoming parents, they haven’t found the time.
Kaj’s license plate reveals what his hobby is with the words “Gone hunting.”
Being outdoors is a favorite pastime; any kind of hunting or fishing he likes it all.
There are many more plans for Maddison’s backyard playground.
“It’s an ongoing project,” he said. “I want to add more swings, another slide, monkey bars, a rock wall, with real rocks, and even a zip line from our deck now that’d be fun.”