April 16, 1917
I wrote a letter early this morning to my father. I promised Shannon that I would take the mail to the train station first thing in the morning. Shannon needed to get his order to the Renfrew Creamery so he couldn’t afford to miss the mail today.
Shannon asked me to walk with Mildred on her way to school this morning. Mildred is the daughter of Shannon and Annie. She’s thirteen, and this will be her last year of school (Gr. 8) unless she decides to go to high school. That would be in Kingston where she has some family. My feeling she is going to stick around working at the Lodge, or at most get a job at the Highland Inn. She’s too attached to her mother and grandmother to stay away for long.
Mildred looks like Shannon, but she has the resolve of Annie. She’s pretty smart with numbers too and she’ll probably end up as a store or play clerk, like what Winnie does in Huntsville.
The walk up to the schoolhouse is a good mile or more. That’s if the crow flies. But you have to make your way around the chip yard, so by the time it’s done, it’s almost another half-mile . There’s some other kids from a family that live in a Gilmour shanty house further south on the road. Shannon takes turns to give rides, taking them to school and bringing them back in the afternoon. When the weather gets better the kids will walk alone. But today was a problem for Shannon. He had to put an end to the milk cow (the one with mastitis) and needed the wagon. The other family had an emergency – the mother had an attack of some sort. Molly Colson went to see her last night and the kids were in no condition to go to school today. It’s safe for an adult to to walk along, but with all the deer around, the wolves are still hanging around too. They are fewer in number due to the poisonings, but lately they’ve been getting closer to the houses. Wolves normally don’t like to be around people, but there’s speculation there’s been some cross-breeding with dogs, or they’re being fed by the poachers makes them no longer scared of people. So that’s why Shannon asked me to walk Mildred up to the school this morning, just to be safe. Shannon said he’d be done with the cow and would be able to get her in the afternoon. Despite his faults, Shannon is a good father to Mildred, and she’ll turn out to be a good girl.
After dropping Mildred off, I decided to pay a visit to Annie Colson at the Outfitters Store. She was busy getting things ready. Said she didn’t have much time, but she made tea and we sat and chatted. She was happy to be on her own venture now. She worked for long enough at the Highland to get sick of the “Inners” as she called them. The city-slicking guests who dressed up and took for granted room-service in the wilderness. At least with outfitters store at the Algonquin Hope, she hoped to deal with “Outers” as she calls them, people who know their way around outside.
I dropped the mail off at Joe Lake Station instead. It didn’t really matter whether it was Canoe or Joe Lake Station it ended up in the same mailbag. I just had to make sure it was the Arnprior-bound bag.
I went to the east shore of Joe Lake and found a north-facing slope and made my sketch. It was similar to what I had painted a couple of days earlier, but it was mostly more mature maples this time. There was a number a sap-pails on the trees. I don’t think these were Shannon’s or Ed Colson’s either. I had no idea whose pails these were, so I left them well enough alone.
The water is running pretty hard at Joe Lake Dam. The streams have all much broken free of ice now. The winter scenes in the woods are becoming a bit tiresome now so I think I’ll try some rapids in the next few day.
I heard what I thought was thunder or dynamite. It wasn’t either. It was the lake ice cracking.