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Already!  It’s time to go.

(Part Four of the 2014 segment of the Cottage diary)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This has been our last day at the lake.  Tomorrow morning, Heather and I pack up and begin the long journey to Manitoba.

However, we’re not going right home; we’re stopping at a family outdoor camp at Star Lake, Manitoba, and will spend the weekend with the families that gather there.  I have been asked to lead them in a faith-based reflection – making their weekend as much a spiritual “retreat” as holiday outing.  I agreed to do this, and have my material prepared.

The upcoming weekend is, in fact, one of Canada’s traditional national holidays: “Labour Day.” This holiday, like many others around the world, began as a tribute to the labour movement, but in today’s Canada, its “socialist” origins are mostly forgotten, and the weekend is treated as a last chance to enjoy Canada’s comparatively brief summer season.

So the people at Star Lake have an opportunity to be close to nature for a full three-day weekend, plus they will reflect on their life of faith as part of the occasion.

Heather is helping.  She’s going to lead a “children’s programme.”  Hopefully all will go well for both of us.

So, how was our summer?

It’s been intense.  As you may have read, we had issues with our water system and my Internet access, at the beginning of our time here, and we seemed to have triumphed in our War on Ants.  Then there was a certain amount of time away from the lake, particularly a wonderful, but exhausting, trip to see Rachael and Michael in Boston.  I had one really strenuous project – roof repair on our outhouse, which was interrupted by almost ten days of continuous rain.

I’ve been hoping to write up both the Boston trip and the roof repair in this blog, but there simply has not been time.

The past ten days we’ve been graced with the company of our daughter-in-law, Marisa, her five-month old baby, Alexander, and her fifteen year old son, Nicholas.  On Saturday, they were joined by Troy – husband, father, and stepfather – so our cottage has been full.  It has been interesting to be in one’s seventies and to hear baby sounds in the middle of the night!

Sunday, we fed a gathering of eleven people in our cottage – several of whom had come especially to meet and visit with Troy and his family.  Kudos to Heather for making the feast happen in such an enjoyable way, given the great throng of us, all milling about in this tiny space!

But you can see what I mean... it’s been intense!

I’m falling behind in my email correspondence, unfortunately, what with all this activity – so if I owe you an email, please be patient.  I should be back to normal, once we are at home in Winnipeg, after September 2.

But I shall return to the lake for an additional ten days at the beginning of October.  This is because, in order to get the most enjoyment out of our family visit, we have done nothing to close the place up for the winter – a complex task that takes a day or two at the least.  And – because of that interval of terrible weather – the outhouse project needs to be completed.  The building has a fancy rain hat of plastic sheeting, that must be replaced by proper roofing.  So I shall return to do all that – and enjoy the amazing fall colours that are always a treat.

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from Cathy, in Port Hope, ON – August 28, 2013 11:43:15 AM CDT (CA)

I had no idea you and Heather had been so busy at the cottage, Tony.  And now you are heading to Star Lake to WORK!  Well, I know you will enjoy your job as spiritual leader there, as will Heather in her role as children’s ‘director’.

from Don, a Baptist pastor, in Winnipeg, MB – August 28, 2014 3:28:20 PM CDT (CA)

Enjoyed the summary of your very intense vacation!  Wonderful that you have such vim and vigour.
Have a safe trip home – perhaps to rest.
P.S. I too spoke at Star Lake a number of years ago.

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