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Fish, boats and bikinis

Now that I am in blog writing mode, I am periodically looking for new and interesting things to talk about. I can only go on for so long about idiocy, ignorance and incompetence (see my blogs about the Pope, Stephen Harper and the transit strike) before that starts to get old and I feel the need for a change. So here goes.

My Mom in the Parry Sound area got tired of seeing my family and me but a few times a year so she got a bee in her bonnet about renting a cottage from a friend of theirs for my clan for a week in the summer.  And we said, “why not”?

With double daycare this year, we cannot really afford a holiday to the Caribbean or really anywhere remotely tropical (Barrhaven doesn’t count) so this might be the next best thing.

The cottage is on the same lake that yours truly grew up beside from the ages of 5 through 18 – those ol’ formative years.  My days as a youngster were spent lifting rocks in search of crayfish to use as bait or catching frogs and digging up worms for the same reason. Yup, my brother Jim and I did a lot of fishing. Well, I fished. I think Jim talked a lot and scared the fish away.

From what I remember, it was a great lake for fishing. Big Whitefish Lake is about 2 km by 4 km at its widest points and is connected to two other lakes – making for quite a large marine area.  Lots of fishing spots. Landed lots of bass, the occasional trout. Perch. And even a snapping turtle on occasion.

When I became a teen, I was much more preoccupied with “cruisin” in the search of females rather than baiting hooks. And we did find quite a few – females that is. I, along with a childhood friend, Bill – and of course little bro’ Jim – motored around in our 12 foot aluminum boats with the 7.5 hp Mercury outboards clamped to the transoms. We’d see a boat full of bikinis and quite shamelessly pull up alongside to start a conversation and share a smoke or a beer. We met lots of other kids that way who were on the lakes for the same reasons as we were. To meet other teens and to have fun.

Yeah. Speaking of beer. We did lots of stupid things too. Things that would merit my eldest groundings of unequalled proportions. Like, returning from parties at 2am. In the pitch black. With no running lights aside from a Bic lighter. No lifejackets. And we were never drinking, uh, Diet Coke at these parties.

But we met many, many new friends on the lakes. Friends that we would retain throughout our teen years. Summer people mostly. Cottagers. They would be around for 3 or 4 months and then we’d lose touch with most of them until the next summer. I’ve lost touch with all of them now. My “cruisin’ the lake” years happened between, oh, 1977 and 1981. One tends to lose touch with lots of folks over 30-odd years.

But what an idyllic life it was!  A life that none of my kids will get to enjoy. Although my eldest was born in Parry Sound, she’s an urbanite and my two youngest are destined to be so as well. I like city living And as an adult, I prefer it to country living by a mile and would never move back there or anywhere else that didn’t have a half-decent all-you-can-eat sushi spot. But I can’t help but wonder what my kids are missing that I was fortunate to experience.

They will never spend their summers looking for frogs or trying to keep their sibling quiet while trying to nab a bass. And they will never experience tying 4 or 5 boats together and partying the afternoon away under a cloudless summer sky.

But that’s all OK. This summer, they’ll get a little glimpse of what I took for granted.


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  1. […] I blogged a while back about where we are travelling to so I won’t go into great detail about that. […]

  2. XUP says:

    I grew up on a farm and often think about all the simple joys my kid has missed growing up, too – but then again there are so many things she’s experienced which I, as a hick never did — museaums, art galleries, plays, a wide range of restaurants, friends close by, summer jobs that don’t involve climbing into trees to find fruit.

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