The pork sizzles, and cries for fish. — Henry David Thoreau
You just have to love a country that, when you go in a restaurant and order a sandwich or burger with fries, the waitress always asks, “Do you want gravy on those fries?”
I just returned from another marvelous, low-to-the-ground trip to Canada to enjoy some time with friends, get away from emails and tweets and Twitters and all telephones and television. And to play a little music at the end of the day, and, oh yes, to do a little fishing for those tasty, toothy, almost-prehistoric fellows called northern pike.
My good friends Bob Day and his grandson, Tyler Johnson, joined me this year on what has become an annual 800-plus mile road trip to Shining Tree, Ontario, and to Three Bears Outfitting Camp run by my dear friends, Brandon Baker and Kelly Hayward. What a time we had. The hospitality, as always, was over the top. The traffic cooperated, for once, as did the weather and the fish. We had expected a long wait at the border on the return trip, but, again, we had good luck and breezed right through.
Back to the gravy: I tried to convince my fellow travelers that the answer to the gravy on the fries question should always be, “Yes, please.” I had no luck with that. It makes we wonder about the first person to ever eat a crab or a snail. You have to know that his buddies were saying he was nuts to eat that, but look where we are today. I’ll bet my friend, Tom Massie, would have said yes to the gravy.
I have been told numerous times, by well-meaning friends, that it is crazy to drive that far to go fishing. If it was only about the fishing, they would be right — maybe. But it is the adventure, the beautiful country, the vast lakes and evergreen forests, the moose (we saw a cow and a calf), the bears (two), the wolves (one), and I don’t know how many grouse and loons and bald eagles. It is to make my reacquaintance with friends I haven’t seen for a year, and to share all this and more with good friends and traveling companions. What’s not to like? And, yes, it helps if you are a little bit crazy, but that seems a small price to pay.
I have returned to a garden that is completely overgrown. Thankfully not with weeds, but with the vegetables we planted. The potatoes are out of their raised beds, as are the peas, which are about done, and the beans. The cucumbers and yellow crookneck squash are out of their cages, as are the tomatoes. And the sweet potatoes have not only taken over their own bed, but the runners have taken the walkways on both sides. The sweet corn is higher than my head and doing well. Last night for dinner we had fresh beets, new potatoes, new peas and squash and onion casserole. It doesn’t get much better.
Sunday at church was our special fifth Sunday service, and afterwards we gathered at the pavilion for a wonderful time of fellowship with friends and neighbors and a covered dish dinner to satisfy all the good country appetites in attendance. Life is good. Enjoy it.