July 28, 2007
"We're neighbors, ay?" Marg had said as we waved good-bye last year. We'd met Marg and Cindy and Patti on Little Caribou Lake three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, up near Armstrong. The women had been on the lake for their annual "Women's Weekend" of fishing on Little Caribou. Mary and her brother and his wife and I were on our annual canoe trip in Canada's wild waters.
This year, as we made plans for the trip, Marg said Yes, we could leave our vehicles at her cabin at the south end of Little Caribou, the only cabin on the lake. "Glad to oblige" is how she put it when we thanked her. Additionally, she invited us to spend our first night with her and her companions at the cabin, rather than laying over in motel rooms in Thunder Bay on our way north.
We arrived at the cabin about 10:30 p.m. local time last night to a terrific warm welcome. Patti was absent. She has been battling health problems since February, we were told, and hadn't quite recovered enough strength to make the trip to Little Caribou for the weekend of fishing. Marg's daughter, Alanna, was along, however, and was of an age, having just completed her freshman year of high school, that Marg thought she ought to start coming on this "What Happens on Women's Weekend Stays at Women's Weekend" weekend.
So we met our Canadian friends, these neighbors, and had cold drinks and warm talk with them on the screen porch of the cabin. We talked. We got pointed in the direction of sauna and shower and outhouse, and we talked. We got shown the sleeping accommodations – bunk beds for Ted and Matt, the young men traveling with us, a fold-out bed for Philip and Susan, and another fold-out bed for Mary and myself. The cabin was actually one very large room with curtains dividing one end into three small bedrooms and affording privacy to Marg in the left cubicle, Ted and Matt in the center, and Cindy and Alanna in bunk beds to the right. Mary and I in our bed, and Philip and Susan in theirs, would sleep in the middle of the living room. Some of us trundled off to our beds and some sleep after the thirteen and a half hour drive. Some of us stayed on the porch and talked in the light of the white gas lantern, for by then Marg had shut off the generator she allows only during the hours between sunset and a sane person's bedtime.
Eventually all of us slept, and eventually all of us rose in the morning to Marg's coffee and a breakfast of toast and bacon and gently-fried eggs. A lovely breakfast and a fine start to our first day at Little Caribou.
We loaded our canoes and set off for our intended camping site part-way up the lake. Fine sky and fine water and fine paddling.
To be continued....