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A letter to my husband from Lake Kashwakamak.
I know we’ve been out of touch with one another since I left. Who knew so much of God’s country still lacks reliable mobile phone service? But I wanted to drop you a line to explain the alarmingly large cash withdrawal from our bank account, from the ATM in Northbrook, which you’ve probably noticed.
I figure your imagination is running away with you, and you’re wondering, “What spectacularly reckless thing has my wife done with our money this time?”
The bad news is that what I have stuffed the car with is... a kayak.
I know what you’re thinking: “But we don’t need a kayak!” And that’s true... or at least it was true. But need is subjective and you weren’t with me on the beach to assess it the day our son returned from his first solo voyage in a borrowed kayak: Joseph was all brown and beautiful, and I had Christopher Cross on my iPod and I could feel myself getting caught up in the reverie—where fibreglass, almost as well as canvas, performed a miracle on the kid.
Who needs video games when a kayak and a cool, clear lake can help a boy catch sight of Neverland itself?
And, if I’m being completely truthful, there was also a moment when a longing for the power and popularity that comes with having cool toys on the beach got the best of us, too. The kicking and splashing and noodling and tubing and hot-dogging and paddle-boating, and the occasional use of some other kids’ kayak, were not enough. We wanted more.
By any standard enforced by the OPP, I was sober when I drove to Cloyne later that day to “just look” at kayaks. But when I awoke later that night, in a horrible, fitful kind of buyer’s remorse sleep, it occurred to me that I had in fact been under the influence of something much more powerful than drugs or alcohol: I was under the influence of summer.
The situation was made worse by the heady, coconutty fumes from my sun-tan oil and the possibly hallucinogenic effects of the other-worldly French fries from Isobel’s Chip stand in Northbrook...which I only ate the one time, and you should know that Isobel promises they don’t have any trans fats.
I know you’re thinking, “No, that girl did not do this to me!” especially given that the jury is still out on the cost of repairs to your truck. You might not find this funny right now, but, life, being naturally ironic as it is, I’d be willing to wager a guess that the truck repairs will be roughly the cost of a blue clear water kayak with a cute little guppy on the bow.
I know I told you at the end of last summer that I had finished trying to recuperate the lost summers of my youth: The hang ashore days of double-dutching on Hawthrone Avenue in The Sault, filled with envy as I watched neighbourhood friends take off for exotic destinations like Gananouqe. It wasn’t enough that Stacy F. had a pink canopy bed. No, she had to spend the entire summer with her Gran in Gan, coming back browner and blonder than everyone else and rubbing it in our faces.
Of course it’s not Stacy’s fault that I bought a kayak. I haven’t even seen her in 30 years. I’m just saying that, apparently, I’m still not over all the missed adventures. I’m sorry to say that, where summer is concerned, I may continue to make irrational decisions for the foreseeable future.
I figure right now you’re either thumbing through the yellow pages, looking for the name of a good divorce lawyer, or praying for the speedy return of a polar vortex to keep me and my debit card on ice, or you’ve begun to move, albeit in baby steps, towards kayak acceptance.
If you’re swimming in that last stream, which is my hope, you need to join us here as soon as possible. The flies aren’t that bad, and there are 2 adult kayaks we can borrow and we can all take a trip together.
As far as adult supervision is concerned, given my insatiable appetite for summer I may be the one who needs it the most—lest I pull up in the driveway with a kayak, towing matching Sea-Doos with custom logos “Badass Boy” and “Badass Boy’s Mama” behind an RV branded “Freedom Express.”
Now that’d be a lot of splainin’ to do, eh?