Well, it was a nice visit to Lake Nuncansee this afternoon. It seems that every time step through the warp I end up on a small pier that stands out maybe 50 feet into the lake. It looks like a good spot for fishing. The locals have named it Fisherman's Warp. Sounds as good a name as anything else.
I walked down along Main St. and stopped in the Shaft Restaurant for a bite to eat. I met Philboyd and Vanilla there and we had lunch together. They told me that Rocky Orr and his wife Yron owned The Shaft. A few minutes later Rocky came over to the table and I was properly introduced. I asked him what ever made him decide to name the restaurant The Shaft.
"Because it's mine", he said.
Since there wasn't too much that could (or should) be added to that we ordered our meal. Rocky suggested the special. That happened to be fried sloth but I was very skeptical. He tried his best to sell me on it, though. He said that sloth is usually not cooked very well by most cooks and hence has a bad reputation but that frying it lightly in butter and lemon oil really brought out its true flavor. I asked him what cooks usually did to it that made it so terrible and he just replied, "Too many cooks broil the sloth". I ordered a BLT and let it go at that.
Over lunch the Studges and I talked about leaving home. I told them about my past venture into the Air Force and my daughter's more recent one and they were thrilled. They had seen many of the young adults from Lake Nuncansee choose the same path and most of them had made it a very successful adventure. In fact, even their daughter, Coco, had done the very same thing.
Vanilla made a very good point when she commented on how the ones who ended up disappointed and angry were the ones who were running AWAY FROM something or someone. The ones who were running TO something always made it because they were running, not out of fear, but from excitement. And those were the ones who left loved ones behind; who had a solid base of support behind them. The ones who knew that any period of time is not forever and that they were not changing everything in their lives but adding to what was already there. Not that these people were always 100% successful. By no means! They all had their points of failure but they learned and grew from these points and overcame them. And they learned that when someone else had the same problems they could be compassionate because they had also gone through it and could really understand. Bercause they had walked in those shoes, they learned how to live and trust and help and care with, for and about other people. And what they would gain was a quantity of courage deep within them so that when the going got a little tough and they reached down inside for that little extra there was always something there. And the more they reached down inside the more they found that there was enough not just for them but for others as well. They had indeed found a reservoir that would serve them well for the rest of their lives and that by giving to others they were refreshed and refilled themselves.
As we left the Shaft it was raining. But that wasn't big news. It has been rainy for several days now. I guess it is giving life the lawn we will complain about in a few months and feeding the weeds we will be yanking out by their throats later in the year. Or, as Philboyd suggested, we would just sit and watch them until we decide that the weeds are really just spinach and just leave them there.
It has been that kind of a wet week here in Lake Nuncansee. Wet and icy, as if the clouds couldn't make up their mind whether to rain or sleet but definitely did not want to commit themselves to snow. So they kind of hemmed and hawed, their indecision making life very cold and damp for the rest of us. Certainly not like the mid-west where the weather had definitely decided that this was winter and made no bones about it. Some of the residents here at the lake who had received letters from loved ones out in Minnesota had claimed that the envelopes were still shivering as they retrieved them from their mailboxes. The stamps had apparently been freeze-welded on the envelopes in the -30 to -40 degree weather. Envelopes weren't ripped open, they just kind of cracked open like an ice cube tapped with a hammer.
Anyway it was warm and dry in The Dunkin' Stuff Coffee Shoppe where the locals gathered on Saturday to do their version of the news of the week in review. The people really enjoyed having me there. In fact one lady was telling me about her son who had joined the Air Force several years earlier. He had written home that he had gotten a job as a PLO. The parents were, of course, concerned that their son was joining a Middle East terrorist outfit when he was supposed to be serving Uncle Sam. Their fears, however, were laid to rest the following week when they got his next letter explaining that PLO really stood for Permanent Latrine Orderly.
Martha Herkdingle had the big story of the week, though. Seems as though her dog, Penny, had died. She had the old dog's corpse sent to the veterinarian's office to be cremated so that she could save the ashes over her fireplace. However one of Dr Kay Nein's assistants goofed and misplaced the body. Instant panic ensued. They searched for a whole day before Dr. Nein finally recovered the body just as it was about to be fed into a trash compacter at the town refuse reclamation center. She brought back Penny's body and properly cremated it. She promptly put the ashes in a suitable, and very distinctive, alabaster urn and delivered it to Mrs. Herkdingle's place. Of course Martha immediately put it in its proper place of honor above the fireplace in the very center of the mantle. With a subtle smirk she said, "It just goes to show that a Penny saved is a Penny urned".
The big sports story of the week came from the High School where the hometown Monks were playing the visiting Brake High School team. The Drums were favored to win but Lake Nuncansee pulled off a stunning upset by winning 1-0 on a last second free throw.
It wasn't that the shooting in the game was so bad but because the school custodian, M. T. Pale, thought that the game was on Wednesday night, not Tuesday. He had not set up the baskets yet and by the time he got them set up there were only five seconds left. Seth Shott was promptly fouled and calmly stepped to the line and sank his second foul shot after missing the first and went into school history for single-handedly defeating the schools arch rival. His season scoring average did suffer a bit in the process, however. The game MVP award was given to Mr. Pale.
The award, however, did not surprise Mrs. Pale. "He can't hardly remember to put the trash up in the basket at home," she said. "Why should it surprise me that he forgot to put up a basket? If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again. It's like an Alcatraz around my neck."
Plans were made Thursday for the 21st Annual Lake Nuncansee Concrete Canoe Derby. It will be held the weekend after Arbor Day this year. The course for the derby was set as starting at the headwaters of the Stynx River with the finish line being the buoy 200 feet out into Sea Major which is the name given to the northern end of the lake. It is the same course as each of the past 20 years but somehow it makes it more official to open the planning with the establishment of the course. Two families were barred from participating in this year's race. Both the Hatcoys and the McFields will not be participating in this one. It seems they got into a disagreement during the finish of last years race and wound up throwing seat cushions and anchor chains at each other. It became known as the "Regatta And Feud in Sea Major" and the sponsors of the event do not want a repeat. The families were told that they could do something in Sea Minor (the southern end) if they wanted but the key to the real race was friendly competition rather that discord. Cap Hatcoy protested saying, "I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law." But his protest was not accepted.
Plans for a late-summer balloon race were still up in the air so the topic was shelved until next month. It was decided, however, that when the entrants arrive they should line up alphabetically by height.
Well that is the news from Lake Nuncansee, where the sewing circle is in stitches, the nuclear scientists have all gone fission and the English Channel is the BBC.
I just remembered a short passage that my Mom and I shared a lot when we were feeling lonely and a little lost. It comes from one of our favorite books - "HMS Ulysses" by Alistair MacLean.
Here it is:
"To all things an end, to every night its dawn; even to the longest night when dawn never comes, there comes at last the dawn."