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The Last Resort - Chapter 14|
In February, I started to feel sick and I certainly didn’t want to go in the hospital but I had to see the doctor. When he had examined me, he told me that I was pregnant.
I said: “But I can’t be.”
What a stupid thing to say to a doctor.
He said: “Well, you’re married, aren’t you?”
Thank goodness it wasn’t my doctor. I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that I was pregnant again after I had been so emphatic that I was never going back in the hospital to have another baby again. I was as mad as heck with Arthur as he was only making on hundred and fifth dollars a month and we really couldn’t afford to have another mouth to feed. Well, it’s too late now so I only hoped that I would keep well as I seemed to get sick quite a lot over here.
By the time May came around, I was feeling fine and looking forward to going to camp. The road had gone through to what is now known as Perrault Falls. My goodness, what a difference a road makes. There was now a tiny store and post office which was run by Ed and Margaret Gawley whom I got to know so well. They had their living quarters at the back of this little tiny building.
When I went in there in the fall of that year, I said to her: “Margaret, aren’t you afraid that someone might see you?” She didn’t have any curtains on either of the windows. Absolute wilderness and no one in sight and I had to say a dumb thing like that.
Now that the road was through to Perrault Falls we wouldn’t have so far to go. When we reached Red Lake Road, Alex Delorme drove us to Perrault Falls and we were able to go straight down to the lake instead of making a long portage. The children were so excited and so was I knowing that we didn’t have to climb over anymore windfalls. If only we didn’t have to cross Wabaskang lake.
It was as rough as ever but this time we didn’t cry. We just covered ourselves with the tarp and waited for the bouncing to start. When we seemed to be on calmer water, I looked out and Arthur had stopped at a point where some building was going on. Here we met Dave and his wife Margaret who was starting a camp. They made us very welcome and insisted that we stay the night. We did but I could tell that Arthur would have much rather continued on. We were wet through and were glad of the change to get dried up. I felt really cold even though it was a nice day. I can remember looking out of the dining room window and seeing those great big whitecaps that we had just come through. How thankful that we weren’t going through the other half of Wabaskang that day.
After an early breakfast, we thanked our host and hostess. We set off for Wine. It was early so the wind wasn’t up yet so the lake wasn’t too bad. We got to Wine Lake before noon and this time it didn’t look half as scary as when I first saw it. in fact, it looked quite nice. Anyway, we were glad to be there.
Arthur was going to build a frame so that we could put a tent over it. We could stay in there instead of using a cabin which we could rent out. Now that the road was through to Perrault Falls, we hoped that we would be busier than last year. Little did we know that we would get as many customers as we did.
it wasn’t too long before we heard a boat coming. Arthur went to meet the people and soon I saw him bringing three men up to the kitchen. I quickly made the coffee and invited them to have coffee with us.
They asked if they could stay the night and Arthur and I nearly fell over ourselves to get them into a cabin. Out very first party. This money would be our own and we wouldn’t have to pay Frank. We were so excited. The men also wanted supper. They said they would bring the fish in and Arthur agreed to cook it. All I had to worry about was dessert. I didn’t have anything to cook and even if I did, I doubt whether I’d be able to bake anything in my old iron cook stove. It had a great big hole in the oven which Arthur had tried to fix with a great big piece of tin. I can see now why he saved everything, even old rusty nails as we seemed to find a use for them.
Well, to get back to my dessert. All I had was cream of wheat which we used to have in England with clotted cream and brown sugar. It was so good. At least I though so. The men brought in some lovely fish which I served with mashed potatoes and pork and beans. They filled up with that and they didn’t want dessert. Thank goodness. The cream of wheat didn’t look so good without the clotted cream and brown sugar anyway!
These men thought Sally Ann was as cute as a bug in a rug and wanted to take her back to the States with them. They asked her if she would like to go back with them and that little rascal ran to the bedroom with a paper bag. She put in her nightie and little toothbrush and was all ready to go. How those men laughed. Their names were John, Ralph and Andy Brodie.
When these men left, they said they would be back. They were regular customers year after year. They eventually became like family to us. When the Brodies left, I told Arthur that he would have to go to Perrault Falls to get groceries. I simply had to have things to cook with.
Before he left, I asked him if there was anything in the ice house that I could cook up in case anyone should call. He said that there was a fish in there all ready to go. Wouldn’t you know it? As soon as he left, a boat with three men arrived at the dock. How I hated to go down to the dock to meet them as they didn’t seem to understand me.
When they used to say: “Come again ma’am,” I wouldn’t answer. I usually let Arthur do all the talking but since I was on my own, I invited them up for coffee. They wanted to know how long I had been here. I told them that this was our second year. They wanted to know how I found my way to this remote spot all the way from England. I could see from their expressions that they didn’t understand me and how I hated that. However, when they asked if I could give them lunch I said yes as long as they didn’t mind fish. They said: “That’s what we have come up here for. Fish and lots of it.
They men said they would be back at three o’clock so as soon as they left, I rushed down to the ice house to get that fish. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I was getting panicky. I didn’t have a darn thing to give them if I couldn’t find that miserable fish. How did I know that Arthur would cover it up with wet sawdust? Anyway, I dis find it and brought it up to the kitchen. I washed it off, dried it and stuffed it with a nice dressing. I then decided that I would make them a lemon pie. I got Richard to bring me in lots of kindling so I could get my oven very hot. I got a good fire going and the pie crust made.
you now, I was a happy sensible person before these men came for lunch. I ended up being bad tempered, irritable, cross and thoroughly worn out. My two children were afraid to come near me. The egg whites wouldn’t whip. I took them down to the ice house and put the bowl on the ice and waited until it was nice and cold. I rushed back to the kitchen and whipped the daylights out of those egg whites but they still wouldn’t whip. I could've saved myself a lot of work if I had just taken my egg beaters down to the ice house and beat them down there but I didn’t think of that. back I rushed to the ice house, put that bowl on ice again. I left the bowl on the ice for half an hour then brought it back to the kitchen to try and beat those whites. Someone had told me that whites have to be cold to be beaten well. I don’t know how many times I brought those whites up the kitchen. They never did really get nice and stiff so I had to pour them over the pie as they were and shove the pie in the oven.
I heard the boat coming in so I quickly finished mashing the potatoes and started to decorate the fish with pieces of lemon and some parsley. Yes, parsley that I had planted when I first came to Wine Lake. I don’t know what happened but the fish didn’t look right to me. I had tested it and it was cooked so what was wrong? The men hardly ate any of the fish.
I heard one of the men say: ‘What’s the use of decorating a fish up if you can’t eat it?”
I felt dreadful. The pie was a mess and all in all the meal was a disaster. I asked Arthur when he came in if the fish was all ready to go.
He said: “Yes, it was.”
I said: “Well, how come those men hardly at any of it?”
He said: “What did you do to it?”
I showed him. He looked at it and said: “No wonder. you never scaled it!”
There were all these little things curled up on the fish. I sure hope I never see those men again. I wonder what they told their friends.
I told Arthur I was never going to cook fish again. I scraped all those scales off and made Arthur, the children and I eat that fish for supper. I wasn’t going to waste it. We were getting more and more people now that the road had gone through and before you knew it, I had people sleeping on my kitchen floor. How strange that was to me and I didn’t like that one bit. They even wanted to sleep in our little ice house.