You too would be leery of anyone mysteriously landing on your stoop, wandering around and trying to feed the dog.
So it was with the Mayor of Salt Point.
Attempting to make Meadow Portage in one day from my bear invested campsite opposite Birch Island Provincial Park, headwinds and the lure of fresh cut grass pulled me ashore at what seemed to be a golf course in the middle of a marsh. An immaculate, enormous yard, private protected cove and well kept buildings made it obvious that someone cared.
Cars in the driveway led me to believe that someone was home so I went to the front door and knocked, looking to ask for permission to pitch a tent close to the shore. No answer. All quiet on the stoop.
With no one answering the front door, I meandered a bit on the way back to the canoe. Almost back, I heard a quad start up and make its way towards the beach. Seconds later, I’m introducing myself tk Tony, the Mayor of Salt Point.
He’s cautious. Reserved and not sure what to believe. I give him a card and he gives me permission to stay. I figure he’s heard his share of stories, tall and otherwise.
Halfway through getting the tent up, he’s back again. This time his wife, Charise, is in tow. She’s carrying an adorable baby girl that the mosquitoes haven’t quite manages to carry off. Apparently, they’ve Googlled me. Visited the Kai Nani website even. ‘You’re that guy!’ they both blurt out in unison.
I am treated like royalty. Tony delivers a fire pit, bread, and sausage. Charise insists I come inside and make myself at home. A shower and something cold to drink make me feel almost human.
It’s a family homestead that they’re still farming. It’s a jewel, an immaculate piece of paradise but work you can hardly believe. The last two years have seen clouds of locusts eat everything green to the stocks and army worms destroy everything in their path. Tony shakes it off like it’s all perfectly normal while Charise nods and chips in ‘What can you do? Somethings you just have to endure.’
I cannot think of anything or anybody more truly Canadian than the Mayor and his wife. Strangers welcomed with open arms, grit and wits pitted against the land and elements, all with a smile and a care-free nod.
Wandering back to the tent, the setting sun catches my eye. It always does. I look back at the house and see the blue-ish glow of the television dance on the curtainless window. I wonder what they might be watching. The differences between the tent and the house began to heap upon themselves, growing second by second. I stop myself in my tracks, bend my head and whisper a prayer of thanks and gratitude. What is it about these places that draws and makes these people? The Mayors and the farmers? These Canadians I am so fortunate to meet?