The weather forecast today called for torrential rain, which came true as we woke up to what seemed like buckets of water being dumped on the sailboat. After breakfast Tony and I took apart the console of his boat to diagnose a beer fridge issue. Loose wire! We fixed that like champs then vacuumed the entire upper deck of HQ2 as they had an interested buyer coming at 11 to view the boat. Interestingly, this man’s family had actually owned this exact boat some twenty years prior, so they weren’t sure if it was just a nostalgia trip or somebody who was a serious buyer. While Tony and Angela were busy fluffing HQ2, Ana and I donned full rain suits and braved a walk into downtown to look for some goodies to bring along to our dinner party tonight. That’s right - we had been invited to a dinner party at our friends the Bradshaws, who have a cabin at Otter Lake, which is just a short drive from Parry Sound and used to own a fuel company and some gas stations (including the one where I filled up the propane tanks yesterday). There really wasn’t much open in town, except the LCBO which still had a damn line-up of people wrapped around the corner. Tell me something’s not wrong when you have a town with a bunch of empty buildings and closed businesses and yet the government-run monopoly is thriving. Free the booze!
Ana didn’t really find what she was looking for, but did find a couple of modest hostess gifts, then we topped it up with wine and beer packed into a cardboard box, which seemed like a great idea for carrying back to the boat until the damn thing started disintegrating in my hands and all over my rain suit during the soggy walk back. Upon returning we discovered that the HQ2 buyer was serious indeed and wanted to buy the boat! So they had arranged for a sea trial the following weekend in Midland, giving us just one more week with Tony and Angela to maximize fun.
Our friend Monica picked us all up at 2pm and we drove back to their cabin to meet up with her husband Nelson, their three beautiful daughters, Nelson’s sister Stephanie and her three sweet kiddies, as well as Nelson’s folks Brenda and David. We first got a tour of Nelson and Monica’s cabin, which they had recently renovated from top to bottom, and it was lovely and perched up on a hill with a stunning view over the lake. They then walked us down a forest path to the boathouse, which looked like a cabin in itself and was filled with all sorts of treasures - huge soaring exposed beams, a classy polished wood boat, bubblers, cool inflatable docking pads, mounted sailfish and bass, an antique fuel pump, paddle boards, composite dock chairs, and really was the coolest boat house ever. We then proceeded up to Nelson’s parents' cabin (also lake front and real classy) and met them and Nelson’s sister for the first time - all such lovely people. We got right to it, drinking fine craft beer and wine, visiting, laughing, demolishing charcuterie boards, discussing everything from politics to horses to schooling. We all felt like old friends to me.
Nelson put together a five star BBQ effort - two kinds of sausages, perfectly cooked sirloins, and this delicious, buttery fresh corn mixture scorched in a cast iron pan on the grill. Combined with the salads and sides we feasted like champs around a custom build Mennonite table for 12. Dave started the meal with a fine blessing then we tucked in and kept the conversations going.
“So what are your plans for tomorrow?” Dave asked us.
“We’re coming back here,” I responded quickly.
Everyone thought that was pretty funny, so I had to pretend like I was kidding. After dinner we settled into the couch for some more chatting while the kids goofed around with the youngsters and the three lovely dogs. Tony and I had brought some cigars for the men, but we didn’t quite get around to those, so hopefully Nelson and his dad can have a nice lakeside smoke together this week.
We said our damn non-hugging COVID goodbyes which are a sad substitute for the real thing, and left with some new friends. I can’t say I’m surprised at how amazing Nelson’s folks and sister are, knowing him and Monica.
Back at the boat we immediately began compiling a list of people we knew in the area who had cabins, or people we knew who may know somebody in the area with a cabin, and also brainstormed some creative ideas to befriend locals with nice cabins as quickly as possible, as these dinner party invitations were really working out well for us.