21 March 2006
My family and the Thomas family, who went to the same deranged church as us, joined forces for many summers camping at Enough Lake. We visited the same campground year after year. The owner of the campground ran his business chiefly as a means to keep himself in a steady supply of boozing companions in the summer months. Our families and his campground were made for one another. The guy would mix drinks in his cabin, put them on a bar tray and serve them to the old people on the beach. He was the best campground owner in Canadian history.
The lake was warm near shore for swimming and cool enough in its depths to keep its healthy supply of trout happy in the hot summer months when we visited. This was the only lake the Hockey family ever had much luck fishing in. One early morning when the Hockey and Thomas men and boys were paddling the still waters a 3 1/2 pound trout jumped right in the Thomas family canoe. Old man Thomas whacked it on the head quick and we made up a story about the Thomas boy B.J. fighting the fish, having his line break, and then catching it once more before it was finally netted and brought home to be barbequed over red hot coals. My dad said, "If it was a motherfucking seal it would have had flippers big enough to cook up for breakfast on Sunday."
Since bigger boats had names our two families dreamt up names for our canoes. We picked up sticky letters in the town we picked up our supplies from once a week. The Hockey family canoe was dubbed the Mighty Motherfisher; the Thomas canoe proudly bore the name Beaver Liquor. People had a sense of humour back in the 1970s, I guess.
On Sundays the Hockeys and the Thomases would drive for what seemed like 100 miles to a country church a priest would ride into on his horse like he was Tommy Hunter. His little church spilled over with vacationers in the summer and all the children got to sit on the dusty wood floor near the preacher. Instead of smelling our fellow camper's farts we got to smell the preacher's. The only preacher talk I recall from those summers was the one about lying. The preacher said, "The only good lie is a good fishing story." I could see why the Hockey family were of a religious nature when I saw dad's eyes light up when he heard this.
There were bears of all kinds, cougars and wolverines in the wilderness surrounding the campground but we wandered the woods carefree, stopping to explore old trapper cabins and rusting logging equipment. In the cabins we would find forgotten tins of milk. These we would break open with sharp stones and inspect the smelly congealed contents. "Hey," I recall Ksandra Thomas saying, "That smells like the outhouse after Beer got finished in there this morning."
One time we visited one of the campground owner's friend's house a ways from the lake. Like most houses in the area it was a half finished, never to be finished, log cabin. Inside it smelled like our house back home, like booze and cigarettes and seal flippers. That was the first place I heard Chuck Berry's "Ding-a-ling" song on the man's stereo. He thought he was one hip motherfucker.
The campground owner had a daughter named July. She was a little older than me. She had these terrific purple ju-jube nipples stuck on the points of breasts way too big for her body. B.J. insisted, "I'm going to fuck those purple ju-jubes of her's before we go home to Sliverville."
Too bad for B.J., he never did, because July was Enough Lake's meat eating equivalent of Pamela Anderson.
If you are visiting Dope City or you dwell there, do yourself a favour: Get the fuck out of the city and touch and taste the real Canada. In the summer it is soft and tastes like purple ju-jubes.