Last Night in Huntsville

June 15, 1917

Dominion Hotel
Dominion Hotel, Huntsville

I wasn’t expecting to be staying here. I’m at the Dominion Hotel here in Huntsville. I can’t really afford it, but here I am nonetheless. After the way the day turned out, the only place that would put me up for the night was the hotel. For a price, of course. I got one of the cheap rooms. I stayed here once back in 1912 with Alex, before I knew the Trainors.

In the novels I’ve read, a day like this is called the point of no return. Like two trains on the same track hurtling at full speed toward each other. It’s like one of those points in your life when nothing is going to go back to normal. You just hope to pick up what you can from the wreckage and carry on as best you can.

I’ll write about what happened, but first I’ll write about what I hoped to happen. I caught the morning freight train at Canoe Lake Station. The train usually has second class passengers coming in from Madawaska. Rarely does anyone ever get off this train and Shannon never bothers to bring his hearse up this early. “People in second class never tip, and if they want to stay at the Lodge, they can walk down.” Those were Shannon’s words of wisdom. These words of wisdom were really sad when a consumptive unexpectedly came on second class, and had to wait for three hours before Shannon would pick them up.

This morning, the station master wasn’t there and Mark Robinson was away in Barrie (he tries to greet each train for poachers). I had to wave the train down myself. No one saw me board, so no one knew where I was. “I’m going camping,” was my lie from the previous days.

The train is perilously slow going through the Park. If you’re lucky, the train reaches a top speed of 15 miles per hour. This train was empty, so it was going a bit faster than usual. It was probably going to pick up grain from a laker at Depot Harbour. At each trestles, the train would stop, the trestle inspected by the engineer, and then a crawl across the trestle at an old man’s walking pace. At Brule Lake we stopped to fill up for water. We didn’t reach Scotia Junction until well after noon. I was the only one to get off and I had to find the conductor to let me off train. Otherwise I would have ended in Depot Harbour. If that happened, I probably would have boarded the laker upon its return and kept on heading West.

At Scotia Junction, I didn’t have to wait long. Within a few minutes a southbound train came from North Bay and I was on my way to Huntsville. I got there around 2pm. My plan was to surprise Winnie at work but I decided kill some time and go to the barber. There’s nothing better than a professional shave from a barber. I decided to buy a new shirt from the men’s clothing shop and put it on right away. I felt clean and crisp – like a million bucks, as they say.

Winnie works as the bookkeeper at Stephenson & Anderson’s Grocery Store on Main Street. I came in and said hi to the girls and walked to the back of the store. Winnie works in the office in the back near where the shipments come in. I made sure I came as close to 5pm as possible because that’s when her hours ended and I didn’t want to distract from her work if I came earlier. I hoped to set things right between us. Something you can’t do with letters. And then make plans for the future.

I opened the door and I saw her. Her back was facing me. She was bent over tallying up receipts. “Hello, Winnie,” I said quietly.

She whirled around in her chair, “Tom, what on earth are you doing here?” I could see the shock and surprise on her face. My sudden presence was like a lightning bolt out of the blue sky

“I came to see you, Winnie,” I stepped into the office so the stock boys couldn’t hear us. I left the door open, so as not to arouse any speculation. “We need to talk and make plans. We can’t do this by letter.”

Winnie stood up, I could see the tiredness in her eyes. Somehow, I knew this wasn’t just from emotional strain. I had seen other women with the same look when they were  early.

“I know, Tom. We must. But I wish you had let me know you were coming.” She started to gather her things up. It was near 5 o’clock. It was the end of the workday.

“Let’s go outside first, then let’s talk.” I knew there were attentive ears in the store. One of the girls from out front came into the back. The girls never come into the back  so I knew exactly what she was after. We had to go out front door (I wanted to go out the back) but Winnie had to check out at the the employee board to show she was leaving at the appointed time. The exit routine in its entirety was wholly uncomfortable, because every set of eyes was on both us, including the eyes of the customers.

Outside, the late afternoon sun was still bright. I noticed in the sunlight that Winnie was pale. She had only been to the cottage once this spring, the weather was bad, so there was not much chance to catch a tan from the sun. But like the tiredness in her eyes, the paleness of her skin was not explained away by poor summer weather and lack of sun.

“Tom, I’m sure my mother knows now. I’ve been ill in the mornings. And I think my sister knows too. She’s training to become a nurse.”

“How about your father?”

“He doesn’t know anything. He’s been away walking the cutting lines for a week now. Did you  see him in the Park?”

“Yes, I did. Earlier this week. I thought he’d be back by now.” I didn’t bother to elaborate that Hugh went away for more than just work. He need a place to drink in peace, too. Nor did I mention to Winnie that Hugh  attempted to give me some roundabout advice on the very matter we were about to discuss.

“Father’s supposed to be back this evening. I’m supposed to be home before 6 o’clock to help Mother with dinner. If he’s not home by then, we’ll keep it warm for him. Up until a year ago, the trains ran a pretty tight schedule. You could predict the arrival of a train to the minute and make plans. But the growing fear of saboteurs on the trestles wreaked havoc on the train schedules. Once the schedules got so screwed up that two trains met head-on a single track. Thank goodness there was no crash, but it took the better part of the day to sort it out by backing one of the trains up  almost 20 miles to a station that had a long enough siding.

“Well, I’ll come home with you to dinner.” I could see Winnie blanch. There was going to be a train wreck tonight and no backing out. I immediately realized that I had put events into motion and they were no longer under my control.

“Yes, please come for dinner.” Winnie had to invite me, and I had to accept. Now I wished I had never come in the first place. I had become an unwitting participant to the events that were about to unfold.

The walk to Minerva street was only a few short minutes. The talk of our plans was moot now, because we both knew that what was about to happen needed no plan. We came to Winnie’s house. The screen door on the porch was open and we could smell dinner being prepared. Something was being fried on the stove. Probably a poor cut of beef, because beef was so expensive now. But it smelled good.

We went into the house, and there was Mrs. Trainor. She looked at me and politely smiled, “Here for one of your visits, Tom?” She saw that I had my pack with me.

“Yes, Ma’am. I had to come into town to go to the bank. I thought I’d drop by for visit.” I lied. I wasn’t here to go to the bank. I was here to see Winnie.

“Fine, then. I’ll set an extra plate out. You’ll have to wait. We’re expecting Hugh any moment now.”

The trains were now heading full speed towards each other. It was too late for the engineers to do anything. All they could pray for was a quick resolution to whatever fate could bring them. Maybe some would walk away from the wreckage.

I heard the screen door. It was Hugh. He came in. He was dirty and unkempt. He saw me. I was clean and crisp. I must have smelled of aftershave. He smelled of whisky.

“What in hell’s name is he doing here?” Hugh didn’t greet me. He didn’t even look at me. “Winnie, go upstairs. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this. I need to deal with this situation.”

Winnie was white before. Now she was positively ghost-like. She froze. She did not go anywhere. Hugh promptly forgot she was there to witness it all.

“I heard it all from the Frasers!” Hugh growled in a low tone so that the neighbours couldn’t hear. “If you don’t leave now, I’ll send you on your way with stars in your head.” That meant he was about throw his fists. It was going to be a bad scene, unless I did what I was told. I picked up my pack, said nothing, and walked out front.

“Someone should teach you a lesson!” Hugh yelled on my way out. The neighbours heard this. It was dead quiet. He started to say something else, but I only heard the slap of the screen door and creak of hinge as it settled back into the door frame. I stepped off the verandah and went into the street.  The sun was going down and the shadows were starting to get  longer. It was going to be one the first beautiful evenings of summer. There was no reason to be inside anywhere.

I walked a few paces before the screen door burst open again. Winnie ran out. She went down the verandah stairs and with a brisk walking pace, caught up with me on the street. To the casual observer (and nosy neighbour) she tried to make it look like we were going for a regular walk and having a casual conversation. If there ever was a situation where outward appearances were completely at odds with what was actually going, this was it.

“Tom, stop! What are we going to do?”

I kept going, “I’m never coming back to Huntsville. That’s one thing for sure.”

“Tom!” I could hear it all in her voice. Her life was crashing all around her. So was mine.

“I’m going back to the Park first and then I’ll think what’s best next. Winnie, there’s nothing  here any more.  People would only gossip and the shame would be unbearable here. We need to leave.”

“What?” Winnie gasped. The shock of a having child was one thing, but seeing your whole life come crashing down, that was another.

I wasn’t looking at Winnie, I was looking straight ahead, as if I knew exactly where I was going. “We need to go out West. Or South. I’m thinking Denver.” The train wreck was now complete. I was now picking myself out of the wreckage and planning amongst the remnants now strewn about.

“We’ll go to Billie Bear Lodge. I’ll write and set a date. I’ll go from the Park. You from here. I’ll get my friend, Tom Wattie, to help me out.” Tom Wattie, a Park Ranger, was a trusted friend of mine. He lived in the northwestern part of the Park.

“Tom, I can’t leave”

“Winnie, you have to. Otherwise your life is done here.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a figure exiting the Trainor household. It was Hugh, of course. “I need to go before you father makes a scene on the street.”

We walked a few more paces, then I stopped. She stopped too. I turned and faced her. She turned too. As quickly as first turned, I turned forward, and began walking quickly up the street.  Winnie didn’t come after me. She knew there were eyes on her and her father was quickly approaching. It’s one thing to have a family scene in your home, it’s another thing to have the scene on the street. The shame would be absolute. I didn’t kiss her goodbye. I didn’t even squeeze her hand. I just walked up the street and out of sight.

The evening was beautiful. It was only a week from the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. I walked around the town in a daze. The fresh evening breeze made no difference. I felt I had been spit out and there was nowhere to go but out of this town, but it was too late to leave unless I started walking by the rail going up north.

I don’t know exactly how I ended up at the Dominion Hotel but that’s where I decided to stay the night. It’s funny how things come full circle. The first night I ever stayed in Huntsville was at the Dominion. Now five years later, the last night I would ever stay in Huntsville was at the Dominion too. Like all of Huntsville, it was dry as a bone at hotel. I’m never staying another night in this town again.

An Incident between a Motorboat and a Canoe

June 13, 1917

I was minding my own business when Martin Blecher came by in his putt-putt boat.

“Get out of the way! Can’t you see where I’m going?” He yelled at me as he passed me on Potter Creek. The wake from his boat made my canoe bob up and down.

Martin got an Evinrude motorboat last summer and now he thinks he owns the Lake. From what I could see, he had a pail of beer with him.

I knew exactly where he was going. He was going to see the train come in Canoe Lake Station. It was part of his daily routine. The No. 52 First Class from Depot Harbour came in every day at 12:23pm – just around lunch time. The eastbound freights and the lower classes came earlier in the morning. The No. 52 was by far the most interesting train to watch coming into the station because you never knew who or what would be coming off. Most Park visitors came in from Toronto or Buffalo.  They’d take the train north from Toronto, transfer at Scotia Junction, and make the final leg on the Grand Trunk to Canoe Lake Station – or more likely, Algonquin Park Station where the Highland Inn is. Joe Lake Station, only open in the summer, was 3 minutes down from Canoe Lake Station.

I was in my canoe, near the Canoe Lake Lumber Mill when Martin came charging through. He’s pretty proud and arrogant about his boat. There weren’t too many like it around. There was another one up by Cache Lake but the owner got drunk, broadsided three canoes and hit a rock or a deadhead. The boat went to the bottom of lake and he got rescued by the canoeists he hit. Martin’s saving grace, is that there are fewer canoes to hit on Canoe Lake.

I don’t have much to do with the Blechers. They keep to themselves and I don’t see them much. The Blecher cottage is just a bit south from the Trainor Cottage. Not too far away, but far enough to ignore everyone. There’s the four of them, Martin Sr. and Louisa, and their kids, Martin and Bessie. I wouldn’t call them kids, because they’re adults, but they act like kids. I hear them fighting often. Bessie is a teacher and Martin is private investigator (so he says) during the winter months when he’s back in Buffalo.

My view is that Martin is a blowhard. I never believed anything he said. He said he worked for the Burns Detective Agency. There was a new hotshot in the Department of Justice, J. Edgar Hoover. He ordered mass round ups of enemy aliens, mostly Germans but Russians too.  Burns did the dirty work of rounding them up. Martin said, the expression on an enemy alien’s face is priceless when you bang down their door at 4am. Made the job all the worthwhile. Needless to say, I didn’t like Martin. I did wonder out loud once that he was of German descent, may be was an enemy alien. Martin retorted that Hoover was German and Swiss descent, and he was the most red-blooded American there was.

So I guess Martin is a red-blooded American too. I was going to ask him why he was on vacation in Canada when his compatriots were being drafted and going off to war. I decided to not to say anything while on the water because a canoe is no match against a motorboat.

Gardening and Thoughts of Winnie

June 12, 1917

The weather turned for the better today and so did my mood. The sun was out, but there was a lot of dampness in the air. In the afternoon the clouds built up like huge palaces in the sky. You could see where the idea of Heaven came from when the ligth from the late evening sun would illuminate these big billowing masses.

It was a quiet day for me. I spent a couple of hours working in Annie’s garden. The weeds were offering fierce competition for the seedlings. The tomato plants had their head start in the lodge but everything else had to come from seed. The strawberry patch was doing okay, but the strawberries wouldn’t be ready for another couple of weeks. The rhubarb was ready, and Annie was ready too to make rhubarb jams and preserves.

I was mostly thinking about Winnie and what to do. I decided the best thing to do was go to Huntsville and visit her. I wasn’t sure if I should visit her at her parents. Instead I could go see her at Stephenson and Anderson’s where she works and if a visit wasn’t possible, I could stay at the Empire Hotel.

The other thing I was thinking about was conscription. It was becoming an absolute surety. Borden knew he’d have an election on his hands so he’s giving the wives of soldiers to vote in their absence. If there’s an election Borden is going to win, no doubt.

Shannon saw me in the garden and came over. He said he’d need my help with bringing hay in soon. If there’s a good dry spell, he was going to cut some in the meadow later this week and it would be dry enough to bring in next week.

“Sure,” I said. “I’m planning to go way for a couple of days, but I should be back.”

Shannon asked where I was going. “A camping trip, by foot, not by canoe,” I said.

By the looks of it, that satisfied his questioning. Shannon saw things in black and white and he was never one to read between the lines. He could never catch an outright lie either.



Letter from John, Goodbye to Mark

June 11, 1917

It was another miserable day today. Mist and rain. I stayed inside. I went down for breakfast but then I returned to my room for the remainder of the morning. I did get a letter in the post today and read it in my room. It was from John McRuer in Denver. He sent a thank-you note for sketch I sent down in May. Despite the distance between us, I feel that John is still one of my closest friends.

The letter was distressing. His wife, Edith wrote it, not John himself. He must have dictated it because of this failing health. Back in 1913 he got the consumption and decided to move to Denver for the mountain air and the new cure therapies he was hearing about. He moved and established a new practice there, but he had to stop late last year and he’s been sick ever since. His part of the letter had nothing of a distressing nature, “everything was jolly” so on and so forth, it was the postscript  by Edith that threw me.

“P.S. Tom, John is not doing well. The doctors say that he won’t last through another winter. It’s by hope and faith that I will be with him through to the very end. If you want to see him, you should come late summer, or early fall. A visit by you would lift his spirits immeasurably.

Love from both of us,


That post script opened up another possibility to my future. I was thinking about going West, much like Jackson did a few years ago, but going South would be something entirely different. I had heard about the Grand Canyon Park, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevadas. I had read about  the Anazazi Indians and their mysterious dwellings in the cliffs. I could go to Denver first, and venture on further South.

Early in the afternoon I decided to venture out unseen.I had heard that Mark Robinson was going back tomorrow to his family in Barrie. So I decided to visit him. He was going to be away for the better part of three weeks – away from the black flies. The reason was vacation and to spend time with his boy and twin girls and get the family ready to return with him to the Park for the summer. Bartlett recognized that the married Rangers needed to be with their families so he let them stay with them Park Shelter Huts. The one at Joe Lake had two rooms and a kitchen which was more than enough for summer living.

I walked down to the shore. In part, I wanted to see if Hugh Trainor was still there. The cottage looked empty. He must have left this morning. He probably went along the Gilmour tote road to walk the lines. Depending upon which direction he could pick up the train at Brule or Rainy Lake and make it back to Huntsville by night.

I walked up Potter Creek, crossed the bridge and then spent some time above Joe Lake Dam. I sat on the shore and skipped stones into the water. There was no wind and the water was like glass with mist settling on it. I’m not sure why, but the sounds in this type of weather travel far and long. You can hear everything on the lake. As I skipped the stones, I could swear I heard the echoes in the distance. It was probably my mind playing tricks on me, but that was okay.

I walked to Mark Robinson’s house and I saw him struggling outside with some pine logs.

“Howdy, Mark,” I said.

“G’day, Tom. Just in the nick of time, can you help me move this log over?”

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“The yard’s not even. I need some more yard room for the kids. Right now the ground falls right into the lake. I’m making a sort of berm to level things out. That’s the next part of the project, ” He pointed to a pile a gravel, “I had meant to get that in before I leave tomorrow. No luck. George has always got me doing other things.”

I knew the real reason. His hip wound from overseas severely curtailed his ability to lift anything heavy, especially pine logs and gravel. With heavy work, Mark could only work at the half the pace of a healthy man. I knew it bothered him, but I guess he should be thankful. He came home in one piece to a steady job. Others came home with no legs and arms to hungry families and with no job.

“I’ll fill it in when you’re gone,” I said.

“No need to do that, Tom. I got Jack to help me out when we’re back”.

Jack is Mark’s eleven year-old son. Jack wouldn’t have to do it, because I would do it while he was away.  I dropped the subject because any more talk on the matter would have raised it to a matter of honour. I knew when to shut up about these things.

“Mark, I need to know if I can store some stuff at your place. I need to find a place for my sketches.” Hugh’s sudden change in tone yesterday spooked me so I thought I’d better get my sketches out of the Manse.

“Tom, you can store them here while I’m gone. But I can’t be responsible for them. Plus, I have to lock the place up good while I’m gone. There’s the telephone and gun. Bartlett won’t let me give the key to anyone.”

I dropped this subject too. I helped him with the logs. When we finished, Mark made some tea and we sat on the verandah. We watched the mist turn into a steady rain. There was no need to talk. We knew each other well and we didn’t need to say much to each other to keep company. Besides, the rain on the leaves made such a pleasant sound, nothing more needed to be said.

The Manse

The Manse

June 10, 1917

Lord’s Day today.

I went with Annie and Mildred up to Hotel Algonquin to attend the lay service. Shannon didn’t go. Said he had better things to do. Old Mrs. Fraser was in no condition to present herself publicly so she stayed behind. Said she would read the Bible and do the Rosary.

We walked. Annie, Mildred and me. It was cool and pleasant. No bugs, but the road was a bit mucky. It was just after 10 in the morning and the dew hadn’t yet cleared up. Annie got the hems of her skirt wet and she had to hitch her dress up stepping over puddles. As we approached the bridge, the road looked like it was covered with snowflakes. But they weren’t snowflakes. I looked closer to discover  it was clumps of fallen dandelion seeds with their fluff. They must have been afloat in the night-time air,   caught the night-time dew and fell to earth. I had never seen such a thing. It was like a battalion of angels fallen in the muck.

“Mildred, I think those came from angels’ wings.” I pointed to the dandelion fluffs, “I can see the headline now: Archangel Michael has Wing Trouble: Forced to stay at Mowat Lodge. Enjoys Heavenly Cooking.” Mildred smiled. She  enjoyed my wry sense of humour, especially when it bordered on irreverence.

Annie made a stop to the conversation, “Tom, you shouldn’t make fun of these things!”  Then in earnest she said,”Those who mock the Lord will be sent on the straight and narrow.” I don’t think that was a Bible verse. Where did that come from? It sounded like something an Evangelical would say. Maybe she was referring to the Canoe Lake spur lines ripped up well in advance of the Second Coming. After the surprise wore off, I took the cue and I didn’t say anything more. The rest of the walk we were quiet. The lay service was uninspiring (Ed Colson had a cold), and the walk back was solemn. Today’s Sunday would play out like most Sundays – quiet reading, some pipe-smoking and nothing much more.

It was turning out to be an ordinary Sunday until I saw the Manse – the Trainor cottage – someone was there.

There was smoke coming out the chimney. It couldn’t be Winnie because she had to stay in Huntsville for work. Odds it was her father. I was a bit perplexed, I didn’t expect anyone to be there until nearer to Dominion Day. I had promised to take care of their garden while they were away. Maybe it was the Archangel Michael, getting ready to look for fallen angels in the garden.

“Annie, I’m going down there. See you in a while.”  The look I gave Annie, reminded her of her the promise of a few days earlier. Mildred, I hoped, was oblivious to this arrangement.

I turned off the road and down to the shore. I went out front by the lake. On the porch was Hugh Trainor, or “Mr. Trainor” as I always call him.

“Down at the Lake?” The tone of my voice made my question double as a greeting.

“Hello, Tom. Here for work. I have to check the stacks from the cutting lines. The drive’s soon.” Hugh was referring to the winter cuts that were stacked up over the winter for the log drives in the spring.

“Came in on the 586 last night. Third Class. Rode with the pigs.” Hugh meant real pigs. It was a livestock train he was on.“Care to observe the Lord’s Day with me?” He produced a bottle of whisky, “Let’s go inside this house of worship.”

I followed him inside the Manse. We sat at the large table in the kitchen. The cottage was the former headquarters for the Park. Rangers lived here, and it was used as a Presbyter missionaries. That’s how it got the name, the Manse. I could see the stove. It had a kettle and a pot of stew of sorts. The pokers and shovel were on a stand beside. A trail of mud led from the front door to the stove. A pile of firewood was dumped by the fire brick behind the stove. If Margaret was around and saw the mud, there’d be hell to pay. If Winnie was around, she would already be on her knees scrubbing it out.

Without further ado, Hugh poured me a glass. In many ways I was already part of the family. I visited the Trainors often in Huntsville. When they were at Canoe Lake, I would  come by for dinner and spend the evening. Hugh and Margaret knew I was the best chance for their daughter. Hugh was dubious of my chosen pursuit, but I gained his respect a few years ago, when I could name every species of tree we came across. He knew his pines and spruces, but beyond maples, his grasp of hardwood species was light. I taught him the hardwoods.

Hugh began, “Truth be told, Huntsville is dry as a bone and Margaret just got elected to the Temperance Union. I have to go to Park and drink.”

I smiled, “Remind me not to bring a bottle, the next time I visit Huntsville.

A figure appeared through window. There was a knock and the creak of the screen door revealed Shannon.

“Shannon. I’m glad you could make good for afternoon service.” I greeted Shannon,, “The afternoon service is non-denominational. Today’s sermon is on pugilism and Pastor Hugh’s got the 80 proof.”

They both laughed. Pugilism was a fancy word for boxer. ‘Pugilist’ to me sounded religious, like ‘Apologist’. Once someone asked what denomination I was (the real motive of the question was whether I was a Catholic or not) and I answered, “Christian Pugilist”. When asked what that was, I said it was a form of Methodism, only with fists.

The topic turned to boxing. A popular topic in the Park. The newspaper covered the boxers in the City. Shannon was particularly proud of “Patsy” Drouillard, “Fights like a Catholic should.” Boxing was popular because the men of authority in the Park would often need their fists to settle disputes. Hugh, in his earlier days, had to straighten out a few bush camp uprisings. Park Superintendent George Bartlett looked favourably on fisted approach. His father in England was a professional boxer, a pugilist, and Bartlett was destined for the same fate until he decided to come to Canada. Like Hugh, more than a few times, Bartlett had to exercise authority with his fists, and it was known throughout the Park, that if George Bartlett came to deal with a matter, it meant a few knocked-out teeth or bloody noses before things got settled.

We stayed there for the good part of the afternoon. Hugh said that I should come up and visit Winnie. Said she hasn’t been well for the past few days and isn’t sure she came make it down to the Lake. Judging by his demeanour, I was pretty sure Hugh didn’t know anything more about me and Winnie, other than our ‘boy-girl’ relationship.

My sureness evaporated when he suddenly changed his tone, “Tom, you should start thinkin’ about what you’re doin’. Winnie won’t be around forever.”

The whisky talking now. I felt like I was on the edge of an unforeseen waterfall. I didn’t need the whisky talk for me so I bid my leave and went back to Mowat Lodge.

Shannon stayed with Hugh. Said he was waiting for the doxology. I’m sure the whisky delivered one.

Letter to Winnie Trainor

Mowat P.O. Algonquin Park

June 9, 1917

Dear Winnie,

I received your letter from last week but I didn’t get it until yesterday. I had some guide work that kept me away for a few days. I’ve had two fellows down from Ottawa. Good gentlemen but weak in the arms. I earned my keep on the portages. I hope to get more guiding work but Shannon says the guests aren’t coming like they used to. There’s odd jobs and Taylor Statten needs some help on his cottage. He’s teaching some boys and he’s going to take a YMCA course in the US later in June. He says he has big plans for the place.

I’ll be staying close to Mowat Lodge until I next see you again. I have my gear and sketches at your cottage.  As for painting I’ve done nothing for the past while. I’m done for the summer.

I’ll inquire about Billie Bear Lodge on Bella Lake. There should be room available in later July or better in August. It’s not too far from Huntsville and we can arrange for everything there first. We can make an announcement when you get here in early July. It shouldn’t look bad to anyone.  Look how many soldiers did it just before the 122nd went overseas.  

The garden is good. No sun has made things slow in starting. I’ll keep an eye on it.

I better get this off to Huntsville. The Frasers give their regards.

Yours Truly,