THURSDAY: The Canoe Trip

BY ISOLDE RYAN

Copyright is held by the author.

LAST SUMMER my friend Mary invited me on a canoe trip. At first, I said no, but after some consideration I decided to go after all.

I had never been in a canoe and had immediate regret for agreeing to go.

Mary picked me up on a Saturday morning in early September of 1980. She had her dad’s truck packed with a cooler full of goodies and life jackets for us both to wear, and the canoe was strapped to the top; so off we went. We drove north for about two hours and arrived at her uncle’s cottage before lunch time.

Truly a beautiful spot, the log cabin was placed directly on a hill with the view of the lake just breathtaking. I can’t even remember the name of the lake I was so in awe over it’s beauty. We unloaded the truck, carried the canoe to shore, then put all the other stuff in the cabin.

Mary then looked at me and said, “Let’s do it!” My heart was pounding as we got ready. We put the canoe in the water and got in; then one push and off we went. I was really scared at first, the ride started out a bit wobbly; but soon enough I got the hang of it. I actually started to enjoy this outing more then I could have ever imagined.

The canoe was gliding over the smooth water, it was so calm that it appeared as though we where on top of a mirror. I felt truly at peace, as light as a breeze gliding over the water. We paddled along the shore but quickly grew our sea legs and started to cross the lake. The whole experience felt great and I was finally glad that I had agreed to come on this trip.

Mary started to tell me about the island on the lake.

She said, “Have you ever heard the story of the old man that lives there?”

I replied that I hadn’t. “Tell me about it.”

She went on, “Well, there was this guy and his wife that built there cabin there, and the story goes something like this: they lived on the island for several years even in the winter, and they had to walk over the ice to get to the store if they needed anything in town.  Then one year it happened.”

“What happened?”

“His wife broke through the ice and was never to be seen again.”

“That is just horrible. It’s so sad. What about the man?”

Mary said she wasn’t sure.

“But rumour has it he never stopped looking for her, and he apparently still lives on the island.”

I thought about it for a bit as we where getting closer to the island and finally said,

“Let’s go and check it out.”

Mary said, “Check what out?”

“If he really still lives there!”

With a smile on her face she agreed, and we paddled over to the shore line. We secured the canoe and now were on our way to investigate the truth behind the story.

We found a path almost immediately leading us into the forest and within minutes found the log cabin. We stopped and looked. It looked as though someone was there.

“Let’s get closer.” Mary said.

So, we did. I don’t know how but she convinced me to open the door.

When I did, a room full of people shouted “SUPRISE!”

All of my good friends and most of my family had gotten together to give me a real surprise party. My birthday was only a few days away and I did not see this coming. What puzzled me the most, was how Mary knew that I would want to go on the island? And how did she know that I would open the door?

When I asked her, she just smiled, and said “I knew you couldn’t resist a good mystery!”

7 comments

  1. Megan Curran

    Now that’s a surprise ending!!!! Float trips are the best and I felt the serenity of the lake so I wanted more!! Fantastic story ??

  2. june chambers

    Hi Isolde
    I was with you all the way, feeling the insecurity, the sense of peace, the island and the story, just had to read on…for i was with you wondering, Might there be a dead man inside but no…what a heart stopping surprise ( & relief). Simply written but very effective, Isolda!!!

  3. june chambers

    HI Isolde
    With you all the way, insecurity, sense of peace, missing wife then POW the big surprise. Simply told but effective!

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