|Nanook's Campfire Tales|
|Locked in at the Lake|
It was a beautiful Indian summer day, hot and sunny, and Scofflaw and I had the whole day to ourselves. Now Scofflaw is a hardcore bass fisherman, and I love to paddle, so off we went to the local lake, where the small-mouth bass and landlocked salmon were rumored to be biting in the late season sunshine.
The road into the lake was not marked private, but it certainly wasn’t a provincial highway either. We came down it with no trouble to the clearing at lakeside, where a half-dozen cottages lined the pink sand beaches of the cove. There were no other cars in the parking lot, and all the cottages were empty.
We paddled to many corners of the long lake, scoping out the coves. The water was glassy calm, and nary a breath of air was there to ripple its surface. Down towards the western end of the lake, a large boat lay at anchor in jet black silhouette under the sun, standing out so stark and vivid it appeared to burn a neat hole in the fabric of space-time as it hovered on the surface.
All that was missing were the fish. After the obligatory hundred last casts, we turned our canoe towards the shore where our car waited for us.
As we approached to within thirty feet of the shoreline, a small passenger car entered the lot and came to a stop beside my car. A gentleman emerged and looked at us in our boats. We waved, and I remarked on the wonderful weather.
He did not reply, but climbed back immediately into his car, and peeled off back out the road. We commented on his gruff manner as we tied the canoe back onto the roof rack of the car, but could find no excuse for his rudeness and abrupt departure.
After we finished packing up and headed out the road towards the highway, we were stopped dead in our tracks by the gate. An immense crosspiece of tubular iron, it spanned the whole laneway from ditch to deep ditch, and there was no other path out but through its metal bars. We were stuck. The only person who could have closed the gate was our Mr. Rude of moments before.
What kind of person would deliberately maroon us behind a padlocked metal gate miles from the nearest house? He knew we were there, and he knew we had no other way out. His actions were despicable. I could almost picture him, chuckling evilly as he motored on blithely to his own warm supper and cold beer. “I really stuck it to those poor bastards, didn’t I? Hardy haw haw!”
As we pondered our predicament … there were no phones in the woods, and cell phones had not been invented yet (this happened a few years back) … along came a pickup truck, loaded with good ole boys, towards us on the other side of the locked gate. Don’t get me wrong, they were perfect gentlemen, sober individuals full of good cheer.
After noting our discomfort, the driver went to his toolbox and produced a sharp hacksaw. We first tried to saw through the hasp of the padlock, but couldn’t get any advantage on it. So we went right to the gate's hinges, and after about ten, maybe twenty minutes of sawing, we were able to part the main body of the gate from its post.
We then tied a chain from the gate to the trailer hitch of Buddy’s pickup, and within a minute, the gate lay in the ditch, bent and twisted beyond repair. Roont, as some say. After expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the good ole boys, we went our separate ways, and were back home safe and sound in no time at all.
I feel no remorse. The driver of the car knew we were there, and knew he was barring our exit as he clicked the padlock on the gate. If he had taken two minutes to let us out ahead of him, his gate would most likely still be there today. Serves him right. I’d do it all over again today, if the same circumstances repeated themselves. Maybe I'll include a hacksaw in my canoeing gear from now on!
Oh yeah … thank our lucky stars for the good ole boys.
We might still be stuck in the bog if it weren't for the good ole boys on the Piskahegan.
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