Farm girl meets cottage

I was raised on a farm, so you might expect that I was a rumbly tumbly little girl who spent her summer holidays working for my Grandpa Loyal and helping with the chores.

Indeed, most of my classmates at Woodland Public School spent their summers picking fuzzy peaches, all Vaselined-up in their long sleeves, or planting rows of tomatoes and melons. 

Even my brothers made their summer income working for Neighbour Art who ran a vast Gladiola farm next door.

I was more of an indoor girl. 

I preferred to sit inside on the couch playing board games with Art's son Squeaky or watching Monty Hall and Bob Barker titillate housewives with the dream of new appliances. My favorite shows were talk shows, and they were on for hours, so I watched them for hours.

Then I went out and walk around, smelled the Glads and picked some fruit off the tree for a snack. Occasionally, I would help my Grandma Ina juice tomatoes or squish that orange stuff into the margarine. That's about it.

Nobody really cared what I did as long as I came home for supper. You might say, I was raised free-range.

So cottage life had little appeal for me. We already had an outhouse stocked with steady supplies of phone books that we used for toilet paper. We had bugs, too, lots of bugs -- in fact, my Grandpa Loyal was a beekeeper so getting stung was kind of a rite of passage for me each spring.

We didn't have a lake on the farm. But we did have a pond where Squeaky and I would go to collect tadpoles and watch them eventually meld together in a gross kind of frog soup.

If we were really jonesing for the lake, we would cross the highway and go to Lake Ontario which, even back then, was a cold stinky mess with dead fish floating along the shore. It was the most disgusting idea of a lake I could ever imagine, so the thought of going to the lake, frankly, made me want to hurl.

I eventually had an encounter with a lake, upon moving to Ottawa. It was full of drunk people driving around in motorboats leaving trails of gasoline which I expected was a food group for the fish. I always liked the drinking part, but I could do that in a bar in Ottawa and get served snacks.

Geri's place is different. It is a clean lake with no Zebra mussels or big motorboats. You couldn't put a testosterone-propelled lake vehicle on Lac O'Neill if you wanted to because our lake is too shallow. I like shallow.

Did I tell you I don't swim?

There are only a few cottages and homes on our part of the lake, and many of them are owned by Geri or her kin. There is only one exception: Peter next door sweet talked Geri's mom into selling him a small lot, and so he's our constant neighbour. We don't see him much because he's allergic to bugs.

Our cottage isn't really a cottage, it's a nice condo with a dishwasher and satellite. We have a porch so we don't have to put our feet into the sand and get eaten by flies. 

The worst thing that happens is we get an occasional blackout which means we have to wash our dishes by hand or read a book. There's no air conditioning, anyway, so what do I care about a black out? Just wait. The juice will come back soon enough. 

The best thing about Geri's is that she likes dogs. A lot of people who rent cottages don't like dogs because they shit everywhere and wreck the furniture. Geri loves dogs but she's also very strict. Stoop and scoop or don't come back next year. 

Even people who don't like rules can get behind that one. 

When we had Finnigan, the pooping was our biggest concern because his stools were the size of small babies. But now we have two foo-foo dogs and we can barely find their poop even when we're standing right over them. Very convenient!

Anyway, we had two black outs this time and I just waited to do the dishes until the lights came back on. 

No sense getting my hands all wrinkly. Just eat sandwiches, take a nap and wait.

I love cottage living. A guy brings the wood. There's no vacuuming and I can get pizza delivery!

None of that happened on the farm.


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