THE MASSIVE ROCK CUTS…jutted out to greet us. Home was near as we point Bubbly due north. It took us the better part of 3 hours to finally get the cruise control to work. I’ve never used it before now and it was an absolute bugger. I still don’t know why it all of a sudden worked. We had been through the manual and tried every combination. So in desperation and in lieu of my finding a good size rock and stick to create my own cruise control, we called Bob the fixer
We went over all the same combinations we had tried and then like magic, the damn cruise control finally locked in. By that time we were at Huntsville. My leg was in spasms after holding my foot to the gas pedal that long. I even switched feet which made me sort of a contortionist for a bit.
As we rolled through the “Gateway to the North” we stopped for lunch at the Marina on Trout Lake. It was an absolutely perfect day with lots of sunshine and wonderful dry heat, unlike the humidity we often get at home.
After lunch I took Kirsten to my old childhood haunts. I would take her on a journey of discovery from those passages in my book she had read about.
So sad to see empty lots where the stables of ponies, saddle horses and race horses once lived. Hard to imagine the tiny apartment attached to the stables where old Mr. Pigeau kept house was no longer. The drive in theatre/training track is now a Hundi dealership. Even the swamp has been drained and transformed from the wilderness wonder it once. Here is where lynx, marten and foxes were common place. Now it is a populous subdivision of homes instead of the vibrant wetlands it once was. My old homestead still looks grand in its elder years even though some of its majesty of the beautiful bungalow in the forest is lost to concrete, brick and blacktop. The old oak tree and maple still stand proudly as centurions of the past.
I drove the route we walked to school in all types of weather. No school buses for us. I think Kirtsen was amazed at the long 3 mile walk we did every day.
After dwelling in the memories of my past for a while, we checked into our B&B on the sandy warm beaches of Lake Nipissing (pronounced Nip pi sing.) As a side note: I just had to tell the proprietor that I had a chuckle when I viewed their video trailer advertising their B&B. Whoever narrated the short video couldn't pronounce Nipissing correctly. Instead it came out as "Ni pissing." I would have changed that it it were me.)
Again Kirsten was awestruck by how far you walked in this shallow lake with its deep sand base free of rock before the water flowed over your shoulders. It was so warm and refreshing just to walk the knee high water. We did a very unscientific measurement counting footsteps as we returned to shore. After 211 feet, we still had not reached our shoulders in water. This is the Lake Nipissing I remember. A non-swimmer’s delight but still with the big open water concept that you can stand up in at all times!
The sand was blistering hot as we quickly ran to the shade area. I haven’t walked on an oozing sand beach in years, nor have I wore that black bathing suit I bought 10 years ago and have never worn. It was time to break it in. Even if I didn’t swim in it, at least it got wet.
After a short nap we dressed for dinner and headed out to meet my old family friend. Time ticked by as we waited for our party to arrive. Karen came in and wrapped me in a big hug and kiss. After some time had passed, Karen’s husband Peter came by and joined us. I haven’t met him before and we became fast friends. As Karen would later reveal, he was ‘the little nice French boy’ her dad once gave a lift to. Years later Karen would marry him. Our instant bond was apparent when he talked about his good friends who happened to by my childhood playmates – 99% of them boys. Girls were in short supply so if you wanted to play you had to be with the boys. It was so good to hear how their lives had turned out after more than half a century has passed. We are all seniors now but those days of playing in the tree house and going to the beach returned to flood the memory banks; still as fresh as yesterday.
I can only imagine how bored Kirsten must have been as we chatted away about the old days. She did have a meager plain baked potato for dinner. Poor kid. Her food allergies suck. No wonder she is so tiny.
We arrived back at our beach resort to catch the dying rays of sunlight as the waves crashed on the beach and a rosy glow in the west settled into night. It is like being on an ocean front cottage. A warm breeze fans the hot air and kisses your skin with the softness of a summer’s night. I know I will sleep well tonight.