A Quick Peak in the Rear View Mirror
I suppose one way of looking at it, is that by having missed a year, you could say that the prodigal son (or prodigal something or other) has returned.
Fact is, but for one of the regulars (Ivan) being unable to attend this year’s gathering, there would have been no room at the inn for yours truly.
I guess that means for this week anyway - I’m Ivan! I’ll get back to you in terms of how that all works out once the week is over.
Things were going to be a whole lot different this time around after having sold my boat (it now lives at Eric Lund’s place on Lake Superior) and passing the torch with respect to my former organizational, menu planning and cooking duties – which btw are now in very capable hands – and replacing those with being a table setter, toast maker and dish washer.
I’ve decided that this trip journal will be something of a retrospective, so I’m not only going to chronicle the events of the week as it unfolded, but also take a bit of a look back.
Over the past 40 plus years there has been an extraordinary collection of people/characters who have passed through this door, and even though many of them are no longer with us, they seem to come alive, and are every bit a part of our collective experience throughout the week.
So, to both the past and present members of the Cabin 14 fraternity, including Carpenter, Harry, Sid, Jackie, Dave, Doug, Gary, Marchand, Cookie, Big Bob Bone, Allan, Yodar, Frank, the Pickle, Weaver, Mike Brandt, Baldy, Grant, the other Harold, Brian, Nick, Ivan, Me, Brother Dave, Russ, Brownie, “T”, George Brown, Larry, Brian and Sheila, Len and Linda, Albert and Dorothy, Keith, Dorf, Lynn, Ted, Carl, Wink, Lugs, Jack G., Michael and a few others who I can’t put a name to as yet – help me out here guys – thanks for being an integral part of what has been a tremendous ride.
Therefore what better way to introduce each day of the week than with one of the many quips, expressions and utterances that have been bandied about within the confines of Cabin 14 over these many years. You may even find some popping up in other places as well.
I would also like to forewarn the reader that there will be a number of references, phrases, vignettes, and such throughout the pages to follow that may seem somewhat odd or out of sync with my previous entries and writing style. This is I must admit by design because what I have attempted to do in this instance was write it in a way, that in order to get what it all means, you would have to have been there.
So, without any further ado, or any additional random ramblings, let’s get this week started!
Be There When I Drive Up!
Together with yours truly, this year’s crew consisted of Cousin Dave, Chief Constable Russ Criddle, Nick “Chancellor of the Exchequer” Turkovich, “T”, Brownie, Mike the “Wicked Pickle” Moffatt, Grant – son of the “Pickle” – Brian – brother of the “Pickle” (are you detecting a theme here?), and of course Gary, or as he is best known, “Boogie.”
Having been at Esnagami Wilderness Lodge the previous week helping to get the place opened up, I had about a 10-hour drive ahead of me from Nakina to Beaverland, meaning I was going to be both late to the dance, and for getting at my, or for that matter any share of the Welcome Cooler. But even though I didn’t arrive until 8pm, the guys were kind enough to hold dinner, and I was able to enjoy several of Gary’s Salubrious Sawgeeg patties. Hey, there were even a few bottles and cans of various beverages still floating in the cooler!
After dinner someone thought it would be a good idea to catch what was left of the baseball game, so the boys decided to fire up the TV. All nine of them were working on it at one point, which from a cause-and-effect standpoint may have had something to do with having made a rather significant dent in the aforementioned Welcome Cooler throughout the afternoon and evening hours.
And while in the end they prevailed, the game was pretty much over before they were able to untangle the Cabin 14 version of the Gordian Knot.
Do You Think the Rain Will Hurt the Rhubarb?
A good question, don’t ya think?
The breakfast crew, which was by and large made up of Brian and Cousin Dave, were up and at it fairly early, so by the time the rest of us put in an appearance, preparations to break our fast were well under way.
Breakfast preparation was not without its humorous aspect though, as Cousin Dave was having all manner of difficulty breaking eggs onto the griddle without obliterating the yokes, and notwithstanding his rather feeble attempt to come up with an explanation, or as one cynical individual called it, an excuse, no one was prepared to concede that it was the chicken’s fault.
“Too much presh” I guess.
The big news of the week so far was that upon arrival, they noticed that there was no chest freezer in the cabin. Fortunately, all is well that ends well, because the missing freezer was located and repatriated before anything of importance thawed out. Why it was removed from the cabin in the first place remains something of a mystery, which may explain, at least in part, why it was mentioned at least 15 times before, during and after breakfast.
Remember what I said earlier about assuming a new set of duties? Well, that lasted less than 24 hours, because I was advised that chili was on the menu for dinner this evening, and guess who was on tap to make it. Huh…
Having said that, I suppose it made perfect sense because after all I was standing in for Ivan this week, and with no Ivan there was no goulash, so…
It was going to be a hot one, and after having been on the road for over 10 hours the previous day, and not wanting to get fried to a crisp just yet, I decided to pull a Gary and take the day off.
Later that morning Sarah, who is one of the owners, dropped by for one reason or another, which gave me the opportunity to ask her where (and why) she had acquired the rather hideous four headed, bright chrome lamp that took up much of the living space in the cabin. I commented that I didn’t think anyone had had the nerve or inclination to turn it on, following which she immediately proceeded to give me a demonstration of its many features, explaining that it was there to provide mood lighting in the cabin.
Yup, just what this bunch needs – mood lighting.
As mentioned, it was a really hot day which likely explains why most of the guys came in pretty early, that, and the fishing was no screaming hell either.
And speaking of fishing:
Gary & Cousin Dave – One 18” Walleye that had to be released because it was in the slot size, and one downrigger ball, which Dave claims put up one hell of a fight.
Brownie & “T” – One Walleye released – reason not given.
Nick & the Chief Constable – One Walleye and one Lake Trout brought in, but according to Nick, the total would have included one more trout had the Chief Constable not screwed up when attempting to net it, although there is still an ongoing debate as to whether it was the net man or the angler who was actually at fault.
The “Pickle” or Moffatt Crew – Nothing reported, although they did go out for an evening fish which met with similar results.
Given the heat everyone was pretty much spent, resulting in an early night for all. And just in case you were dying to find out – the reviews are in, and chili was deemed to be acceptable.
That’s Where You Go Wrong – When You Start Thinking.
This morning I was treated to new breakfast entrée – Boogie McMuffins - and as an added bonus was serenaded by the crystal-clear song stylings of a White Throated Sparrow. It’s a very nice way to start the day by waking up to this rather small, and otherwise nondescript bird exercising its vocal cords.
These tasty tidbits consisted of an English Muffin (duh), a muffin sized omelet, cheese, and a specially made McMuffin friendly Sawgeeg patty.
It’s a stone-cold fact that in Cabin 14, if you want to risk going hungry, delegate (which is code for getting someone else to do it), cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
But like all good field generals, policies and plans may have to be amended on the fly in order to adapt to changing battlefield conditions. And to Brian and Dave’s credit, when McMuffin production was starting to unravel, various tasks were reassigned and several battlefield promotions made, including putting Mike “The Omelet King” Brown in charge of the eggs.
Brian and Dave are evidently adherents of King Philip II of Spain when it comes to policy matters, because he firmly believed that:
“No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.”
That dude would have fit right in with the Cabin 14 crowd.
This morning’s breakfast table discussion, as adeptly led by Brian, was mercifully not centered around the formerly missing freezer or Cousin Dave’s somewhat frustrating “eggsperience,” but rather focused on the transformative, almost magical properties possessed by eggshells when added to the coffee grounds before brewing. Truth be told the coffee was really good all week, even though the bouquet was somewhat feathery on the nose – LOL.
I may have mentioned in trip journals past that a rather pernicious Beaver was hell bent on frustrating (and to some degree succeeding) our attempts to fish McFee Lake, by building a dam that Herbert Hoover himself would have been proud to lend his name to – but that was about to change.
This year, Chief Constable Criddle, our own personal dam buster was having none of it, and brought along a set of waders, a heavy-duty pry bar, and a damn the torpedoes – or this case Beavers – attitude.
He cleared a passage in no time, which allowed everyone – did I mention that I decided to take another day off – to get into the lake, and for some anyway, finally catch a few fish.
As for the days totals:
Gary & Dave – 1 Bass (released of course)
Brownie & “T” – 2 Catfish (damn right THEY were released)
The “Pickle” Crew – 5 Walleye caught, 4 brought in.
Nick & Cridd’s – 6 Walley caught, 5 of which were released because they were in the slot size including the biggest Walleye of the week so far – a 24” beauty.
Unfortunately, because of the accursed slot size only 5 made it back, bringing the total number of Walleye (Lake Trout don’t count) in the freezer to 6, meaning that there was still some distance to go before we got into fish fry territory.
I know that the grocery list has undergone a number of changes both in terms of content and who is responsible to bring/buy various items, but from what I could gather some things didn’t change, such as what kind of chicken is required, and who is responsible to buy it.
For as long as I can remember chicken, and more recently chicken and ribs night featured boneless/skinless chicken thighs, and once again for as long as I can remember, the chicken was the responsibility of a particular individual who goes by many names, one of which is Mike Moffatt.
Now Mike has had the odd stumble along the way, having once single handedly doubled the grocery bill by buying organic, rather than regular old chicken - wherein he was accorded the moniker of “Organic Mike” – but in all that time he has never once failed to come up with the boneless/skinless variety – until now that is.
It's often been said, in good fun of course, that he could fuck up a 1 car funeral if given half a chance, and he didn’t disappoint this year. And while we were thankfully spared the added expense of having to pay for organic chicken, we did have to work our way around the bones and skin. Fortunately, having taken the day off, I had time to par boiled them which cut down on the cooking time, and to some degree the flare ups on the BBQ.
Mike, as he is wont to do, simply shrugged, laughed, and explained that these were a much healthier alternative to the boneless/skinless variety, given the known medicinal qualities of chicken skin and bones.
I neglected to mention that Vince and Janet who hail from the Barrie area, and like many of us have been coming up for many, many years, had arrived the previous day. They stopped by to say hello and share a cocktail, whereupon Vince was kind enough to warn us that if you happen to launch your boat without putting the plug in, while it likely won’t sink all the way to the bottom, the bilge pump gets a real work out both before, and after the drain hole has been plugged.
Now I wonder what motivated him to impart that morsel of random advice?
Your Ears Must Be Painted On!
To honor Uncle Harry, today always has, and hopefully always will be referred to as Shrove Tuesday.
By definition Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins).
Having said that, by definition within the confines of Cabin 14, no one ever went to confession (there are way too many sins to be absolved of in the course of just one day), or even remotely considered fasting, but rather this was the day when Uncle Harry made his famous beer pancakes.
When doing so he got up at the crack of dawn, made enough racket to wake the dead, used every dish and pan in the place, spilled batter over most everything, and much to everyone’s amusement, spit directly on the griddle in order to test it – but man were they good!
As an added bonus, whoever is on toast gets the day off.
Organic Mike Strikes Again
It seems one of the changes that has taken place since I last visited was that while Brian and Cousin Dave were generally running the show when it came to breakfast, little bits and pieces had been contracted out, which is probably why it took 4 guys to mix up the pancake batter.
See earlier comment regarding delegation.
Part of the issue it would seem is that you know who bought some obscure brand of pancake mix - probably organic - and it took a significant amount of time to figure out how much of what should or should not be added in order to make the batter. And while breakfast by committee can take a bit more time, the results were not at all disagreeable.
What I find interesting is that while in years past our pancake breakfast was probably the most economical meal of the entire week, this is no longer the case since the introduction of “real” maple syrup (great move) and having given Mike the responsibility to buy the pancake mix.
Perhaps all of Mike’s screw ups are not screw ups at all, but rather part of a well thought out plan, with the end goal being that he would no longer have to buy any groceries. I guess “the plan” would also include his tendency to lose a fish fillet from time to time, with the end goal once again being that someone else would eventually be asked to clean the fish.
Sorry Mike, you aren’t that good, so personally I’m not buying it.
One thing I was glad to see that hadn’t changed, was that Gary had picked up the torch left behind by his brother Lynn and had continued the fine tradition of running the Cabin 14 Off Track Betting Parlor. But on the other hand, something that hadn’t changed, which I was not all that happy about, was that he continued to win most of the pools. Luckier than a dog with two assholes as a certain Cabin 14 alumnus was fond of saying.
He won $50, which is likely the richest pool in Cabin 14 history, and it came about because the Las Vegas Golden Knights smoked the Dallas Stars 6-0 in last night’s hockey game. Who wins with a 6 in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
To sum things up, as yet another Cabin 14 alumnus was heard to say: What a country!
Because it was going to be another scorcher, Gary decided to pull a Harold and take the day off.
Despite that bloody Beaver’s attempts to rebuild his damn dam every night Russ, our resident dam buster would not be deterred, and continued on with his demolition efforts so that anyone who was so inclined could get into McFee.
As for today’s catch and release tally. Drum roll please:
Brownie & “T” – Caught a 23” Walleye which was released.
Nick & Cridd’s – 7 Walleye in total – 3 took the ride back to camp with them.
Dave & Brian – 2 Walleye brought in.
Mike & Grant – 4 Walleye in and 4 released.
If my math is right – which is usually not the case – this brings our in-house total to 15. Couple more and we can break out the big frying pans!
It was another early night, and another one without any after dinner snacks.
Hmmm – must be the heat…
It Takes Me All Night to Do What I Used to Do All Night!
Another good one wouldn’t ya say?
Breakfast preparation was, as it had been on each of the previous days, entertaining. And while Dave continued to have fun with eggs, Gary really got the party started when after taking one look at the Pickle, who had just emerged from his room, asked:
“Did you comb your hair with an eggbeater?”
That man never misses a beat.
It was also a red-letter day for another reason because the guys figured my training, or re-training in this case was now complete, and it would be safe to let me make the toast! Fortunately, for them anyway, there were no complaints.
With another wickedly hot day in store, Gary decided to take another day off, and with Dave as acting captain, the time had come to see if I could at least make some contribution to the fish fry.
The armada headed off for McFee, but because Cridd’s was due a well-deserved rest, and the Beaver had been busy throughout the night, Grant was pressed into service and did a credible job of clearing a path. The only material differences being that while his demolition skills were somewhat close to Cridd’s, he did not continually swear at and curse the Beaver while doing so.
It was a very decent day all around, with all boats brining in fish.
HB aka Ivan II & Acting Captain Dave -12 Walleye caught, 8 brought in with a 17”, 19”, 22” and 25 ½” released.
Nick & Cridd’s – 7 Walleye caught, including a 25 ¼”, with 2 joining us for the fish fry.
The Moffatt’s – 8 Walleye caught with 5 being kept. Grant decided to jump ship into Nick’s boat for reasons that remain unexplained to this day and did catch a 22” Walley in 100 ft. of water while fishing in Big Marten.
Brownie & “T” – 5 Walleye caught and 5 brought in – now that’s what I call efficiency.
With the exception of Grant’s 22”, McFee produced the rest of the fish. Most were caught in 4 to 6 feet of water, 77-degree surface temperatures notwithstanding. The top lure not surprisingly was a jig/minnow combo.
20 Walleye were added to the larder today bringing our total to 35, meaning there was now more than enough for a fish fry, and we could even start putting a few away for those who wanted to take a fish or two home.
While I was sitting in the cabin having a cocktail after my hard day of fishing, my tablet dinged, and much to my surprise, it was and email from none other than Philippe Cousteau Jr., the son of Philippe Cousteau, and grandson of the famous oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau. Philippe, who had followed in his fathers and grandfathers’ footsteps, and is also an oceanographer, indicated that he had seen a satellite image of what appeared to be a pod of Beluga Whales swimming in the Marten River!
The email took me by surprise at first, but after a moments reflection I replied that there were definitely no Beluga’s in the Marten River, but only the guys from Cabin 14 who had taken a dip in an effort to cool down. I further explained that as none of them had as yet developed a tan, having just recently emerged from what was a long cold winter in these parts, the mix-up was somewhat understandable.
Oddly, I did not receive a reply.
Once everyone had cooled off and dried off, Iron Chef Cousin Dave started to prepare the garlic bread that would accompany tonight’s dinner. He said that the recipe was identical to the one used at the Keg Steakhouse, which calls for Mayo to be added to the mix. There ought to be a law.
Who the &#$%@ puts mayo on garlic bread anyway???
Despite the looming presence of the accursed garlic/mayo bread, the rest of the meal was great, consisting of lasagna, Gary’s “Shotgun Shells,” and a mixed berry and spinach salad which Mike would have us believe he made. While I won’t presume to speak for the others, in my view there is no way anyone other than Bev – Mikes lovely and long suffering wife – made that salad, with the Pickles contribution being limited to sprinkling on the slivered almonds and mixing it up.
I had 3 helpings of salad btw.
So Mike, if I was wrong and you did make the salad, there is hope for you yet.
Before going any further, I thought the time has now come for everyone to be able to put a face to the names I have been bandying about for 5 days now.
Is anyone familiar with the expression Vultus est index animi ?
In English it means The Face is the Index of the Soul/ Mind, which in relation to the pictures that follow, should make everyone who is reading this very, very afraid.
Therefore, allow me to introduce: Brownie, Cousin Dave, “T”, Chief Constable Russ Criddle, Nick, Grant, Mike, Brian, and he who really needs no introduction, Gary.
He’ll Drink Anything Too Thin to Chew!
This morning started off with two notable events, those being the great chicken wing debate, and Dave’s comments about the coffee.
Dave, who likes to stir up shit almost as much as the Pickle, was making a Cecil B DeMille production out of tasting the coffee. Upon assuming the role of Cabin 14’s coffee sommelier, he poured himself a cup, stuck his nose in and deeply inhaled so he could get a read on the bouquet. He then took a sip, following which he swirled it around in his mouth, and then announced to anyone and everyone who actually gave a shit, that today’s brew was one eggshell short of perfection.
At least he didn’t spit it out once he finished tasting.
In regard to the great chicken wing debate, most everyone got involved at some point, with the exception of yours truly, because I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.
After the issue had been by and large settled, Cousin Dave was kind enough to explain that along with the fish we were going to cook up for dinner, chicken wings in various styles and flavors were also going to be served, with the debate being centered around what those various styles and flavors were actually going to be.
And if you will excuse me for repeating myself:
That’s where you go wrong – when you start thinking.
Having made my contribution to the fish fry yesterday, I needed another day off, so after seeing the flotilla off, I finished off a few chores around the cabin.
With 35 fish in the freezer, the boys were going to have to keep tabs on one another so as to ensure that no more than 5 fish were brought in. That number would increase after the fish fry, but for the time being, the limits or our limit was clearly defined.
Much to my surprise, Gary and Dave were back at the dock around noon. Apparently, they had a few issues with the beaver dam, motor, and various snags, but despite all of the hardships they encountered, did bring in one Walleye.
Because it was going to be another hot day, I thoughtfully – if I do say so myself – put some tall glasses in the freezer so the boys could enjoy an ice-cold beer, or other libation upon their return. Being first in does have its advantages though, because Gary and Dave didn’t waste any time in crushing a couple of cold ones.
Once this trip was over me, along with Gary and Dave were heading up to Esnagami Wilderness Lodge. As they hadn’t been there for a number of years, I offered to lend Dave my spare GPS which should make it a bit easier for them to find their way around.
I gave it to him at the beginning of the week so he could familiarize himself with the unit, but when I asked how things were coming along, he replied somewhat sheepishly that he may have only turned it on once.
What a banana.
As the week was almost over, I suggested that he might want to begin test driving it, and to start with, he could mark his head as a waypoint and then see if he could find himself.
Fishing was not too bad today, and the results of everyone’s efforts were as follows:
Gary & Cousin Dave – 1 Walleye caught and 1 brought in.
Brownie & “T” – 6 Walleye caught, but because they were not privy to what the other boats were up to in terms of numbers kept, they took a cautious approach and threw them all back in.
Nick & Cridd’s – 3 Lake Trout weighing about 3 pounds each, one 22” Walleye (released) and one Walleye for the pot.
Mike & Co. – 3 Walleye caught, and one retained, bringing our overall total to 38.
By 3:30 everyone was off the lake and down at the beach, enjoying a dip and a few cocktails.
Dinner consisted of the aforementioned variety pack of chicken wings, Panko crusted Walleye fillets (yum), and the Tiger’s out of this world coleslaw.
It was a relatively early night again, with Chase the Ace being contemplated, but fortunately no cards were harmed throughout the course of the evening. And while we passed on the cards, the same could not be said for some very tasty evening snacks.
If Anyone Catches a Bigger Fish, I’ll Blow Them Right Out of the Water!
The day dawned, overcast, muggy and buggy.
Following yesterday’s fish fry, if everyone excluding Nick and I, who didn’t plan on taking any, wanted to take their limit home, they needed to coral another 10 fish.
The process of preparing and serving breakfast had developed into nothing short of a well-oiled machine under Brian and Dave’s direction, helped along no doubt by their new “toast master,” meaning that those who were of a mind, were able to get an early start on the day’s piscatorial activities.
Gary also treated us to another gem to go along with our bacon and eggs when he said:
“My eyes must be attached to my asshole, because every time I sit down my eyes close!”
Overall, the fishing was pretty good in McFee, and while they didn’t bring in 10, the days total came as close as damn is to swearing.
Brownie & “T” – 1 Catfish. My guess is that it was released.
Gary & Dave – 1 Pike for Dave, and a 17” and 18” Walleye for Gary that had to be released.
The Moffatt’s – Grant caught an 18” Walleye and Brian got a 22”. While those were released, they did manage to bring 3 in.
Nick & Cridd’s – 15 caught, with 4 who would swim no more.
Now that all of the boats were in, I am pleased to announce that even though I only went out once, in the finest tradition of Cabin 14, I pulled a Lynn and won the big fish pool.
My newfound riches were short lived though, as the price tag for breakfast in North Bay pretty much wiped out my winnings. I wish I could remember who the asshole was that ordered steak and eggs. Probably all of them.
How Much? I Didn’t Want to Buy the Place!
Nick had assumed the duties of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and following some fancy foot work on the calculator, announced that the total for the week was:
I can’t be sure who it was, but I’m sure I heard someone say something about an audit and possible criminal charges subsequently being laid.
While overall it was a great week, there was a bit of a hiccup at the end. Someone had apparently been keeping fish within the slot size, and because our group had been catching most (but definitely not all) of the fish throughout the week, the spotlight became focused on us.
We had a visit from Sarah, who doesn’t know us all that well and can perhaps be excused, and from Donny, who does know us and as such, should bloody well know better. Let me just say that all of us are meticulous when measuring our fish and have always played strictly by the rules.
As someone who missed being with us this year would no doubt say about such fallacious allegations:
“That’s all a load of bool-a-shit!”
Oh well, they can damn well bite the lot of us.
Time truly does fly when you’re having fun, so to begin wrapping things up, I’m pleased to present the latest edition of:
Cabin 14 News and Views
- This year’s addition to the Cabin 14 haberdashery collection was a really dorky hat.
- Thanks to everyone for welcoming me back, the camaraderie, and a special shout out to Cousin Dave for ensuring that I got my usual bed.
- Mike, you did a great job as always of cleaning the fish, keeping us entertained and in total suspense when it came to the groceries you were assigned to buy.
- Russ and Grant, you both did a fantastic job dam busting, although don’t expect a Christmas card from the Beaver.
- Nick, well done taking on the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer, rumors regarding audits and possible criminal charges notwithstanding. If anything comes of it, Kenny Gold has offered to defend you.
- Gary, many thanks for the hilarious quips, the Sawgeeg and use of your boat for a day.
- This was the first time ever, that not even one game of Chase the Ace was played.
- Brian, fantastic work running the kitchen with your partner in crime Cousin Dave, and the lesson on eggshells in coffee grounds.
- Brownie and “T,” muchas gracias for all of your hard work, that while it was largely done under the radar, nevertheless represented a very significant contribution in making it such a great week.
- Sarah, I can’t thank you enough for not putting 2 of those ugly lamps in the cabin.
- A really special thanks to whoever found the freezer. May it never go missing again.
- Did you know that from almost any angle Brian is a dead, and I mean dead ringer for his dad Frank – sans the bottle of coconut rum.
- If he reads this, I hope that Ivan doesn’t mind that I was him for the week, and
- Dave, I don’t care what your bird app says, there are no Whooping Cranes to be found in and around the Marten River.
Finally, and with sincere apologies to George Gershwin who wrote it, and the many, many artists, including Frank Sinatra, who performed it, please enjoy my version of:
You Can’t Take That Away from Me
And just in case you are not familiar with the medley, here is a link to the Frank Sinatra version of this song to guide you along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1eaRvFb_n8
There are many, many crazy things
That have kept me coming back that I’ll always keep the memory of
And while we may never, never meet again, on that bumpy gravel road to Cabin 14
With your permission
I’d like to list a few
The way we laughed throughout the years.
The lies about the fish we caught
The memory of all that
No, no they can't take that away from me
The way Uncle Harry could turn an onion into a peach
The way Baldy would “suggest”
The way Carp would laugh
No, no they can't take that away from me
The way Gary makes Sawgeeg
The way Marchand fixed Lenny’s car
The way Russ could bust up a dam
No, no they can't take that away from me
The way Trystan told his dad to fuck off
The way we devoured Ivan’s goulash
The way Nick would make a Cesare
No, no they can't take that away from me
The way the “Pickle” could lose a fillet
The way Allan’s farts would stink
The games of Chase the Ace we played
The memory of all that
No, no they can't take that away from me
Finally, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with a vignette featuring none other than the indominable, and most extraordinary Uncle Harry, who undoubtably defined the Cabin 14 experience for those of us who had the pleasure to know and spend time with him.
It was one of those perfectly still evenings, when our boats, together with just about every other boat in camp, were clustered in a small bay where the fish had been biting for most of the day.
There was not a ripple on the water, and any sound could be heard clearly for what seemed like miles. I was fishing with my dad – otherwise known as “Baldy” – and Uncle Harry was in another boat about twenty yards away.
The conversation went something like this:
Uncle Harry – “ Oh Baldy”
Baldy – “What do you want Harry?”
Uncle Harry – “You know Baldy; you’re the luckiest man in the world.”
Baldy – after a long pause, knowing that he was being set up for something: “Why’s that Harry?”
Uncle Harry – “Because you can kiss my ass, and I can’t.”
The laughter, foot stomping, coughing, and wheezing emanating from what seemed to be every boat echoed across the lake for the better part of an hour, and just as soon as it would calm down, someone would start up again, and we would all join in.
It was without a doubt so Uncle Harry, and so unmistakably Cabin 14…
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