We woke up that morning with temperatures already around 80F but low humidity and clear skies. We packed up the car and headed out of town. The drive was without incident and pretty soon we were in the country, heading east toward Kingston, Smiths Falls, Portland and the family reunion.
As the morning progressed, the temperatures rose, as did the humidity. By the time we got to the docks in Portland, it was 94F and felt like 108F. I called the house to say we were here. The reception was very statically but they heard us and told us Chris was on his way. About that time Elizabeth and husband arrived and then another cousin and child. We filled the boat with people and gear. The boat sat 8 and, with the gear and all, we came fully loaded.
When we neared the dock, they were all standing there waving and happy to greet us. We got out one by one and there was a lot of hugs and cries of welcome. Gord and Pam were already there as were Arthur and Helen.
I didn’t know what to expect. Charlie always spoke in such passionate terms about his mother’s family. My late mother-in-law was a “proper” woman. She didn’t have a lot of warmth about her but I always had the feeling she’d have been a riot had we met 40 years ago and had been around the same age. After all, she had lived with a bunch of artists while studying nursing in Toronto. There had to be many stories there but I never heard even one. Think about it, she did not marry until she was 30. That was back in 1937. A woman of 30 would have been an old maid for sure.
OK, back to the rest of the mother’s family. First of all, they are all university graduates. Several of them are PhD’s. They are economists, professors and the like. So, I did not know what to expect but, to my surprise, they were more down to earth than most people I’d ever known. There were buckets of beer, wine and the like. What a great bunch they were. They wore shorts, tees and funny hats. They smoked like chimneys. They were there to have a good time. Period.
I had brought 2 pans of lasagna, marinara sauce and grated cheese. Everybody brought stuff. There was enough food to feed an army. All kinds of snacks, salads, cheeses – the list goes on. More Pictures
We talked and laughed and I took lots of pictures, as much for me as for them. After the sun started to come down, Ellie brought us back to shore by boat. We headed on to Smiths Falls to The Best Western. We got a room on the main floor. We schlepped our bags to our room and the first thing I did was crank the air up. The heat was evil as was the humidity and, did I mention the mosquitoes? I took a long cool shower and it felt sooooooo good. I wanted some ice and water and pop so I went out in the hall wearing only PJ’s and got them from the vending machine. We turned on the TV and relaxed. I must say the only thing spoiling this wonderful country are the damned mosquitoes. Shit. They’re everywhere – by the millions, make that zillions. And it’s not just the mosquitoes, there are a lot of other bugs too. Huge horse flies and the like, also gnats that bite. I mean, it’s dangerous especially at sundown. That’s when they come out and make our lives miserable.
Back at the hotel, Charlie was so very tired. He had driven for almost 4 hours to get to the dock by the island. With all the excitement at seeing his beloved island again for the first time in 50 years, it was just too much for him. By the time the day was done, he was all done in and who could blame him? We hit the bed and it didn’t take long before we fell dead asleep.