“Bittersweet” was made for days like this.
I woke up to the news that an offer had been made and, assuming all the paperwork falls into place, the cabin has been sold. We couldn’t ask for better buyers - they’re nice people who are looking for a place that will be around for their children and their grandchildren. The wife graduated from the same nursing school as Mom, and they go to St. Thomas’, our home church in Newfoundland. But still, it’s hard to believe that this is our last day here, as “our” place.
Before coming this weekend, I prayed we would all find the closure we needed. I know for Mom and Dad, that had a lot to do with finding the right buyer and getting a price that satisfied their needs.
For me, closure was all about finding peace.
With all the selling out of the way, the day was left for us to enjoy.
We took a drive up to the visit the couple who bought our boat, and then drove out to Whitbourne for a fantastic meal of fresh cod followed by partridge berry cake with brown sugar sauce. (You never come to Newfoundland for the weather, but you can always count on the food!)
I’ve spent more than a few hours down by the pond with a line in the water, so this afternoon I decided that needed to be part of my closure. Even though the fish were jumping and biting, there was no getting them on the hook. After an early supper, the wind dropped and I decided to try again while the pond was calm. I’ve known my whole life that fishing is not always about catching fish. As I stood by the pond, watching my bobber with great anticipation, I was flooded with memories of quiet hours spent on that same spot, dreaming of my future, working out problems, or just listening to the sounds of the pond. I felt peace. The weather was good, so I decided I’d stay out 'til dark, fish or not. With that, the bobber when under, and I pulled in a small trout. Normally, I would have thrown that size back in, but I knew this was a gift from the pond - my last fish in Ocean Pond. Mom and Dad came down, we took a picture, and recognized the significance of the moment. I decided to stay out and keep the line wet a while longer. Soon, I had my second fish. I suddenly felt like I was on a mission to get a fish for each of us. It started to get dark and the flies got thicker. I couldn’t see my bobber on the water anymore. I thought, “After this worm, I’ll pack it in.”. No sooner was the thought out than the bobber went under one more time. Three pan-sized trout - one for each of us as our final meal in Ocean Pond.
I can’t think of a more perfect way to end an era.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last day or two trying to grab little keepsakes - a favourite plate, a rock from the shore, a stool from the living room. But in reality, I know that all these things will pale compared to the memories we have in Ocean Pond.
A few of my favourites, that will rise above the rest:
- The year I had a fishing contest with Bruce Evans. We kept a running total all summer long of who caught the most fish. In September, I won the five dollar prize.
- Shingling the roof with Dad.
- In Grade 10, I did a school exchange with Winnipeg, and we brought the two girls staying with us out to Ocean Pond on our one free day. After supper, we took them fishing and pulled in over twenty fish in less than an hour. (All the other visiting students went to the mall on their free day.)
- The time we went for a boat ride and left our dog, Rebel, on the shore. Rebel was so upset about not being invited that he jumped in the water and swam out to meet us. We then had to pull a sopping wet dog into the boat.
- Learning how to drive the boat.
- Picking pitcher plants in the bog and trying to feed them flies - with no success, of course.
- Building forts, lean-to’s, secret hideaways, and other such treasures.
- Countless meals of toutons, steaks, capelin and, of course, fresh trout from the pond, all best shared by the closest of friends.
- The year we brought four teenage friends up (that would be eight people in a two bedroom cabin) for a May 24th weekend and great silliness ensued.
- The thousands of times I did any of the following: built something, learned something, drew something, caught something, drove something, flew something, tasted something, smelled something, and best of all, loved something.
Ocean Pond has been, and will always be, the greatest place on Earth. I praise God for the time we’ve had here, and I pray that the Carters will have as many wonderful memories as we’ve had ... if not more.