Yesterday an email from a special friend in British Columbia popped into my box. It was so unexpected – Marilyn and I haven’t talked for a couple years – and so warm and touching on a cold, rainy day at camp that I wrote back and asked Marilyn if I might share it with friends.
Marilyn found me somewhere on the Internet a few years ago and got in touch because she had spent a few pre-teen and teen years in Sioux Lookout back in the 1950s, and of special interest were her remembrances of summers spent at the family cabin on Pelican Lake, not awful far from where Mary and I have our cabin today.
Over the years we have exchanged many thoughts and compared notes and talked of friends and acquaintances we share. If I remember right, Marilyn has a long-standing wish to return to Sioux Lookout for a visit, but hasn’t been here for many years – possibly since the ‘50s. She and I have never met.
In 1978 I stumbled upon a run-down cabin up in the trees while fishing. Curiosity prompted me to put ashore and go take a peek. I found a few odds and ends among the rotting rubble, including some interesting bottles and some household items. I planned to go back one day and scout around, but until Marilyn got in touch a few years ago, I kinda forgot.
Since we’ve been in touch, I have looked and hiked and scouted in various locations that seemed like right where it should be, but have never been able to find that site again. Maybe it was Marilyn’s old cabin. Maybe it wasn’t. From the time her family last used the camp until 1978 was 20 or 25 years. Lots of growth and changes can happen in the wilderness in two decades.
And, of course, more than three more decades have come and gone since my 1978 discovery.
Every once in a while I still get the urge to go explore to see if I can find the spot. Maybe one of these times I’ll stumble back to the right place.
Early this morning I took a picture of the sun shining on the trees across the bay from our cabin. We don’t see the actual sun rising from here. It breaks the horizon just east of our view and is obscured by a little hill and the trees of the forest. It’s at such moments that I’m reminded I don’t need to see the sun to know it’s there. I can gaze on its wonders at play across the bay and soon enough it will be overhead. So, this picture is for all of you – but especially for Marilyn in appreciation of her kind thoughts and words.
Living vicariously thru Dick MacKenzie
It’s a sunny warm day on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island - last long week end of the summer.
Earlier today I started into one of my cleaning frenzies that led from 10 AM to 5 PM, scouring floors, cupboards, china, closets, carpeting -base boards.
Suddenly, curious to see what the actual temperature here is, I sat down to click on my home page to see if we were having a heat wave - it certainly felt like it - well not quite. Quickly looked at my top weather report of Sioux Lookout and Kenora, to see thunder storms and lightning. Oh how I longed to be there, but I knew the real reason I came in here to my computer was that Dick would have another addition to his blog, so I could quickly check it out before I returned to do a clean on my so called self cleaning oven-- 2 clicks and Im on his site ----ah and Dick never disappoints----
All summer I have lived thru his blog, willing myself there thru his every word, reading each installment several times - of course lately , feeling his pain, all of which I knew all too well. Hey, didn’t I go thru almost the same thing.
During my younger years - I say younger meaning my early to mid 40s, having had up to that time a wonderful time eating, cooking exotic dishes - perfecting baking holiday dinners BBQs, drinking many concoctions of drink, my favorite being Stingers - I too had come to a crossroad when a change had to take place.
Now in my 72nd year I reflect as Dick strides thru his life now - as I did at around mid 40, gave up drinking- complete abstinence to this day - started the healthy eating pattern, over the next year to lose 40 lbs.
Joined the skating club, back skating at 50, and earned my gold dance badge with all the other 15 year olds -
Went back to college, took a medical course and worked for a surgeon for the next 17 years –
Here I am today, still watching the weight - weigh in this week end is 94 lbs. Of course I do nothing in moderation ever - except now my body is screaming at me, you silly old Swede girl are you going to suffer after hours of cleaning.
My husband enters the room saying, “You’ve been cleaning for hours. Who does their spring cleaning in the fall?”
Well when have I ever been or done anything normal, or like anyone else? He gets the idea after 43 years of marriage.
I sit down, get into Dick’s blog, and I am no longer here. But what a treat today as I have the best belly laugh ever - the lids for the pots, the cutting boards. Oh could I see myself clicking stuff into my basket from the Amazon web site.
How lucky I am to know this great person, this Dick MacKenzie. He brings such wonder into my life now, and my dream of being in Sioux Lookout again comes true with his blog as I live vicariously thru Dick
When I see his pictures of rain at the camp, I can hear the soft sound of the rain on the camp roof. I smell the bush when it’s wet. Dick provides every picture of flower, berry, bear scat- even the picture of the rain on the lake, hazy and soft and I can almost feel it.
I am so pleased you liked my email – yes, it’s been awhile.
I wanted you to know how, over the last few years, your writing and pictures have lifted me up so many times.
I actually felt like I was involved in building the cabin- from my armchair of course. I waited with bated breath as you reported on every phase.
Originally I had followed you thru the discussion page on the web cam site - then I also found where you had an album of pictures on another site- then you really defined your web cam site with the blog, albums, etc. and I was, of course, into that like a dirty sock.
Your photography is so clear and well done. I have a 27" imac here and it brings the photos to life - your daily web cam picture on the web page I actually think I can hear the water lapping. Your webcam site where your blog is (www.dickshideaway.com), that’s my favourite place to follow you.
Dick, feel free to use my email as you please.
I know you’re on Facebook , as I do see some of your entries that are shared - I also belong to the SLKT group in Facebook, that is amazing all the old pictures on there. There was one last week of McIver’s store. I can remember going there with my mom. Every year the Hudsons Bay had a Brides fashion show in the Winter - for years mom had that clipping in her album - it mentioned me as the flower girl - would have been 1943 or so. Can’t seem to find any records online. Unfortunately a lot of my parents’ photos and files were destroyed.
Unfortunately for me, trying to find records of all the old timers are gone now. I had emailed **** at the library. I had bought Tracks Beside the Water, Volumes 1+2 from her a few years ago. I heard on the SLKT Facebook page there was a Volume 3. She did email me back, saying the library didn't have it, but she thought it could be purchased thru The Chamber, and kindly gave me the emails and telephone numbers to reach them. After thinking on it a bit, I decided to wait to closer to next summer to contact them, as we hope to come and hopefully if it’s available we could pick it up.
I really think my old cabin has rotted into the ground by now, and bush, well you know how bush grows. It’s as it should be - but always so clear in my mind. I was so lucky to have had that in my lifetime, also to remember loving parents at the camp with me, especially my dad pulling the blood suckers from my legs that I had hung over the dock.
My childhood best friend from Sioux Lookout found me of course via Facebook -****. We keep in touch. She was back to Sioux for a reunion, I think it was last summer. She is lucky to still have her mom. They live in Prince George now - but I see most of that huge family is still in Sioux Lookout or running fly-in camps in the region.
My husband and I still work - he is Director of Revenue for Budget Car and Truck Rentals of Victoria - I run the reservation department. He also runs a huge truck fleet there, and is always on the counter, never in his office.
One day the Post girl runs in, as she does daily. Somehow my husband was talking to a customer and mentioned Sioux Lookout. He is always amazed if he can find someone from there (typical Vancouverite). The Post girl jumps in, “Well I’m from Sioux Lookout.”
Soon he runs into my office to get me. Of course she and I have never met, or seen one another before, but we hug like old friends. She goes back often, and unfortunately I was so excited to meet her, I forgot her name. I do see her out my window as weekly the Canada Post truck pulls up, and brings my treasures from Amazon, lol.
Well, Dick, hope you’re enjoying this long week end. Looks rainy on the web cam today and all too soon I will be following along to see when the lake will freeze over. Even the winter season there is beautiful. I can imagine the moon shining over the lake on the frozen snow twinkling in the moonlight. Soon the trees will be in glorious color change.
Keep well and congratulations on your progress.