Cottage Daze — Anchors have weight but don’t always stay put
May 10, 2012
MUSKOKA — Welcome back to another season of Cottage Daze. You may have noticed that there have been some changes here. Looking around this space, I find myself in unfamiliar territory, a different paper, a different look.
For five years I had been penning a folksy weekly column for the Muskoka Sun called Cottage Daze. At a wrap-up meeting last fall, my editor cheerfully proclaimed that he considered my column an anchor for his weekly rag. I took this as a good thing, smiled and nodded happily. After all, if you are the anchor of a hockey team’s defence, that means that you are a strong and vital component of it, a rock and a steadying influence. An anchor on a news broadcast is the central figure, the anchor on a relay team runs the most important last leg.
I’m not quite sure of the role of a newspaper anchor, but two weeks after being labelled an anchor, and being quite pleased with myself, I was traded. I was dispatched from the Sun to the Muskokan. I’m not sure what the Muskokan had to give up to get me, or, more likely, what the Sun had to give them to take me — I’m not sure if money or notepads or photos changed hands, but here I am.
For my regular loyal reader in the Sun, I hope you find me here. For those Muskokan readers new to my column, let me introduce myself. Cottage Daze focuses on the pleasures of the cottage experience, the trials and tribulations of cottage life, cottage reminiscences and the family. The brief stories follow the ebb and flow of the everyday, and thus can be whimsical, reflective, sometimes nostalgic, seldom didactic, often humorous and, only occasionally, sad.
My cottage is on an island, a balsam-scented, three-acre mound of rock, cedar and pine situated in the middle of a lake in the northern woods. On the island, in a setting of white birch and mountain ash, is a rambling log cabin with a loft and ladder, polished wood furniture, a wood-burning fireplace, and covered porch. There is a dock listing badly to the right, a boathouse bunkie, two-seater cedar privy, and usually lots of kids and dogs running around creating havoc. Always there seem to be things happening, constant adventure and misadventure to be found.
My folks came upon the place when out canoeing in 1974. A “For Sale” sign was nailed on a deadhead sticking out of the water off the island’s western tip. The “S” of sale was actually a painted rattlesnake. They bought the place, and I did a lot of growing up there. My own family bought the retreat in 2003. My stories celebrate my 38 years spent at the cottage, and the story themes seem to be forever changing, as my own family grows older and their interests mature and evolve.
Where my cottage is situated is of no importance. I think cottagers relate to the tales, and I want my cottage to become yours. So welcome to my cottage, and to another season of Cottage Daze. I hope you enjoy the stories, and I can become an anchor in this new space. A good kind of anchor — running fast towards the finish line.
James Ross is the author of Cottage Daze released April 2012 by Dundurn Press. It features the best of his cottage stories and is available in bookstores or online. Visit cottagedaze.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is for personal use only courtesy of cottagecountrynow.ca - a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.