May 27, 1917 Sunday Service

UrNBbm4May 27, 1917

I went up to the Hotel Algonquin for the Sunday Lay Service. Ed Colson led the service. He delivered a homily about the mystery of the Trinity. I didn’t listen too closely; my mind was distracted on other things, but in the distance I kept hearing the reassuring words of redemption, forgiveness and salvation. My mind clicked back to full attention when I heard him say, “We cannot grasp how God loves us unconditionally, and that he gave his only son for our sins.”

That was it, I guess. Time to hear yet again that Jesus paid for our sins. In truth, I prefer the homily from a lay preacher because they’re much in the same situation as everyone else. They have a day job and compromises and shortcomings to worry about, unlike the professional pastors who don’t worry about those sort of things.

After the service, I had coffee with the guests from the Hotel. There was about dozen guests, the numbers were down from the previous years. Ever since the War declaration, Americans were staying home, and getting ready for the fighting overseas. I knew the Colsons were feeling the pinch. They were hoping to have brisk business, but tourists were down everywhere, including the Highland Inn. Maybe that’s why the previous owner from New York sold the place to the Colsons. He knew the business was going to turn down and decided to get out Molly invited me to stay for lunch sandwiches, which I did. I’ll return the hospitality soon enough, by doing some work for them. I knew that they were due for a roof repair, so I would pitch in when they started.

I spent the afternoon on the lake. Not fly fishing, but trawling with a lure and copper wire. The trout were already going into deeper water. I didn’t use a rod, instead I used a spool and let the line out from the back of the canoe and let the lure sink into the depths. I let the canoe drift with the wind, and after a few minutes, I’d wind in the line and repeat the cycle. I listened to the wind on the waves. I could hear the wind going through the trees near the shore. The leaves were all out now, and what was once a ragged collection of fir and pine trees on the landscape was now filled in with the greening second growth of birches. The loons were on the lakes. One moment disappearing in the distance,  the next moment reappearing closer to my canoe.

I returned to the camp site in early evening. After supper by the camp fire I wrote a letter to Winnie. I tried reading as best I could in the failing light, but I was actually thinking about my options for the future. Circumstances are still playing themselves out. I want to get definite word from Winnie before I do anything.

Other than at the service and coffee in the morning, I didn’t speak to another soul today.

May 27, 1917 Letter to Winnie Trainor

May 27, 1917

Mowat P.O.

Dear Winnie,

I am sorry I did not give you a proper goodbye on Friday morning. Your train had left before I was up. I know that you were angry for all of the time I was spending with Dr MacCallum. I am sorry. We had planned a canoe trip and camping but with weather being so miserable he decided to stay at Mowat Lodge instead. The Dr and his son Arthur only stayed for four days instead of the two weeks so you can see why I spent all of my time with them.

You are back in Huntsville now. I don’t know when you’ll be back at the Manse. Your father will be down here for work but I don’t reckon I’ll speak to him, or give him letters to bring back. I hope this letter gets to you through the post. I left my sketches on the porch of your cottage late Thursday night. No one was up, so I left them on the porch in a potato sack that Shannon gave me.  I don’t remember how many I gave away but there should be forty left at least. I think my exhibition went well. I’ll check if they are still there and put them inside with my other gear. Shannon wants to charge me for storing extra stuff at the Lodge. Says he doesn’t want the clutter for his guests. I’ll keep my canoe off to the one side and out of the way.

Shannon does still owe me money. But he will be good for it. He says he needs to account for room and board and I don’t have much choice but to stay near or at Mowat Lodge. The weather is poor and I need to stay close in case I get guiding work. A fair deal in some ways because business is bad all around for everyone. Shannon and Annie need some help putting in the garden and can be of some use being the gardener. I suppose.

I doubt I’ll be doing any more sketching in the next while. Summer doesn’t have the colours I’m looking for and there’s little mood for art when the war is going so badly. The word around is that a conscription bill might go through. Up to 45 years in age. They need more artists fighting the Germans. Jackson’s still in England. I may see him there after all.

I may have some guide work. I will check at Shannon’s tomorrow. I will post tomorrow morning so it catches the mail first thing.