Monday, July 08, 2013


The old couple loved the camp on the shores of the big lake. The winterized home where they lived for decades was clean and inviting. She tended the rose bushes at the entrance and hung planters with brightly coloured begonias beside the bridge that crossed the small creek beside the house. Friends dropped by during the long afternoons and sat outside and visited.

The small housekeeping cabins on the other side of the creek sagged with age, tilting toward the lake more after each spring thaw. Every year he inspected them for winter damage and turned on the water and electricity. The rooms were spotlessly cleaned and readied for the succession of guests who came through the summer months. Summer was a busy season, cutting lawns, removing garbage, fixing boat motors, tending to the guests' needs, sharing fishing tips, and being available day and night.

She died suddenly one winter and he went through the motions of running the camp for another season and then another. His broken heart started failing but he pressed on making frequent visits to doctors in the distant city along with his usual chores. His stiffened joints ached but he kept going for the customers. Each year he was reluctant to book for next season but names were recorded on the calendar and the guests returned.

He finally put the camp up for sale and moved to town. The young couple bought it with money they made from their high paying professional careers in another province. They set up a website and wrote about their plans for the future. They bought two big boats and a fancy tractor. They were nice people but they didn't love the camp. It was an investment, a piece of real estate, not a part of their personal history. He flew in now and then to check things out. They came for a month in the summer and stayed in the big cottage down the road. The house by the creek was empty and neglected. Weeds choked out the roses and the flower pots were dried and cracked. Nature gained an upper hand quickly without diligent daily care. The camp had internet now and he was available by cell phone but the grounds needed a caretaker, an overseer, a real person in charge.

It is the peak of the summer season. All the cabins are empty save one and the grounds are silent but for birdsong and the lapping waves on the empty beach. The bridge is crumbling, the new big boats sit unused at the dock. The swings on the lawn are unused and creek is choked with weeds. It is more like a ghost town than a peaceful paradise.

The old couple loved the camp on the shores of the big lake. I am glad they cannot see it now.


  1. This hits home for me because I've spent much of my vacation time over the years staying at private cabins and sportsman's lodges.You can tell which of the owners put their heart and soul into it. The ones that do have customers that return for years and are treated like family.-Love those kinds of places.

  2. Tremendous post, Ruth. It deserves to be widely read.

  3. Thanks for your comments Larry and John.

  4. That's such a sad story. I hope someone who's interested in upkeep buys the camp and restores it before it completely falls apart. Sounds like the kind of place that provided each visitor with special family traditions.


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