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How I spent my summer vacation...

August 14, 1997

This is the second of three columns on "How I spent my summer vacation."

My family and I f-i-i-nally arrived at the boat landing on the French River in Ontario after a guy from the Dokis Indian village fixed the boat trailer, which was stuck two miles down the road, for 100 bucks.

First we had to unload everything from the van and the boat and the car, park the car and launch the boat and then park the van. Then we had to carry ALL our luggage down to the lodge boathouse where we would wait for the lodge owner to pick us up and take us downriver to camp.

The luggage we carried included food and pop (soda in these parts) for nine people for six days. The pop alone was heavy enough to sink the Titanic. It included enough tackle boxes and rods to start a small retail store.

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We had to carry all of this various distances, depending on which vehicle we were unloading. I'd describe the terrain at the village on the river, but it would take too long. Suffice it to say it is incredibly rocky and it is not level and by the third or fourth trip most of us needed oxygen.

Carrying luggage from point A to point B may sound like a simple task, but when you've been up for close to 36 hours, it is incredibly difficult to perform. In fact, when you are suffering from sleep deprivation, the mere suggestion that you might have to make a lucid decision is enough to put you over the edge.

In fact, the biggest decision I was able to make when I finally stumbled out of the van was to go to the bathroom at the Dokis dock, and that was after considerable, labored thought. Even then, I walked into the men's restroom and lingered for an inordinate amount of time before realizing my mistake.

Hadn't it been for the fact that nameless members of my family kept loading up my arms, I probably would have spent the entire time at Dokis making the agonizing decision of which bag or box to pick up first.

With so many people unloading so many vehicles we arrived at the boathouse, and left, in shifts. I ended up alone in the boathouse with my teenage nephews Michael and Chris, and teenage family friend John. We would be the first to go over to the lodge. The owner couldn't take us all in one trip.

I don't know where the other adults were, because I had begun hallucinating and disassociating and lost track of them altogether. The boys didn't seem to care where they were.

By this time I was very irritable. The fact that the boys decided to play catch while we were waiting for the lodge owner to show up irked me to no end. No real reason. It just aggravated me. Especially when they threw the ball in the water. That really got under my skin.

"Why are you doing that!" I remember yelling at one point. They just looked at me, and tossed the ball again.

It was with profound relief that I spied the lodge owner's boat in the distance, streaking across the river. We WOULD get to the lodge. We WOULD really really be on vacation after all. We WOULD get to relax.

I looked at the boys and smiled broadly. They looked at me kind of funny, like they couldn't trust me.

The boat careened into the dock. The lodge owner stood up, rocking back and forth.

"Hi, Wolf!" I said. (Wolf is his real name) "Boy, are we glad to see you!."

He just kept rocking. I looked at him closely. His eyes were glazed over, and his skin pasty.

He was, well ... three sheets to the wind.

My brother was too tired to insult me. Wolf was too shot to greet me.

It could only get better.

Terry Talbert is a Herald-Mail staff writer.

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