Owen Clark was on his way north. His sister, Jackie invited Owen on this vacation along with her boyfriend, Jack. Their first stop will be Montreal, Canada. Jackie knew a girl whom she worked with for many years and Yvette invited them up for a visit. They left their north Georgia home Friday morning.
Owen woke up and saw many city lights.
“Where are we.”
“We are in New York.” Jack was asleep. He had started driving and needed a break.
“Can we stop. I gotta go.”
“Can you hold it for a few more minutes. Let me get out of the main part of town, then I’ll stop.” Owen didn’t answer. He just squeezed his legs together and waited. Just short of eternity or so it seemed, Jackie pulled into a truck stop. Jack woke up and everybody we inside. Owen found them in the restaurant.
“I ordered for you. It will save some time we spend here.” Owen knew better than to complain. The memory of his mother giving a plate of food to Cisco, his dog stopped any future complaints about the food served to him. They lived on a farm and grew most of the food they ate. His mother knew how to cook it also. She made the best biscuits in ten states.
In short order, they were back on the road. That Ford Farlane got good gas mileage despite its big 390 V8 engine. Owen was excited with the new scenery and disappointed about the heavy traffic, the congestion, and people running over you just to get in front. Jack, who was once again driving was a good, safe driver. Even though Owen was seventeen and had a license, he wasn’t allowed to drive.
They pulled into the check point at the border. The only requirement to cross the border was a birth certificate, which Jackie had for both her and her little brother.
“Where are you folks headed?”
“Our first stop will be Montreal. A good friend lives there, then we will go north west to a place called Shawinigan Falls. My friend's family lives there.” The agent checked our papers and gave Jackie a paper. He was pleasant and friendly.
“Have a good trip. Be careful. That city is on the edge of civilization. You may even see a bear wondering through town.”
We pulled into Montreal about midnight Saturday. Yvette’s apartment was found without any problem. We had a good map of the city. One problem though, Yvette wasn’t home. We found a coffee shop near-by and waited for her return.
About 1:30 AM she appeared. We could see her apartment for the shop and met her before she went inside. Jackie received a big hug and Jack got a big wet one on his cheek as well as a hug. She planted one square on Owen’s lips as well as a big hug. Owen could smell alcohol on her breath.
A hundred seventy pound fur coat greeted him with another wet one on his face and he had both paws on Owen’s shoulders to stop any attempt of escape.
“Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. He only gives baths. Jackie you can put your bags in Henry’s room." The Saint Bernard has his own bedroom with a single mattress on the floor as his bed. Another twin bed was there also. Owen slept on the couch with Henry starring at him until Owen went to sleep. He woke the next morning about daylight with Henry giving him another bath. Owen pushed the dog out of the way and found the bathroom. After relieving himself and washing the dog off his face and hands, Yvette appeared in the doorway. She only had a short nightie on with light blue panties.
“Are you about finished.”
“Good cause I got to go.” Yvette isn’t a pretty girl, but not ugly. She is well rounded though. Owen went outside to prevent another bath. The dog would not leave him alone. In short order, Jack stepped out with a coffin nail in his hand.
“We're going to a planetarium today. I think you will like that.” After a few minutes, Jackie stuck her head out.
“Come on, let’s eat some breakfast.”
The building was huge both in length and height. It has live trees growing inside it. Owen couldn’t get over the feel of the different climates. The tropical climate made him sweat, then the desert climate sucked off the sweat almost instantly. They spent most of the day there.
“Owen here is some money. You see that cafe over there? Find Helen and tell her who you are and mention my name. She’ll take care of you. They won’t allow you in here. You are to young.” Owen went to the cafe. They other three went into a night club.
Early Monday morning the car was packed and headed to Yvette’s home town. It was indeed on the edge of civilization and took many hours to drive to it. Owen saw many new sights on that trip. Loggers on top of a log jam in a river with long poles freeing stuck logs.A moose standing in knee deep water grazing. Strange birds were everywhere. He was fascinated. Yvette sat beside him in the back seat and pointed out these strange things.
They pulled into Shawinigan Falls just before lunch. After much fanfare and after all the introductions were over, they ate a modest lunch with Yvette’s family. It consisted of her mother, father, two older brothers, and two younger sisters, plus on little boy still in diapers. Owen’s attention centered on the two sisters. Nicole was a year older and Diane was a year younger than Owen. He simply couldn’t take his eyes off Nicole. A strawberry blond with intense light blue eyes. She was tall, slim and absolutely beautiful. Diane was shorter and just as pretty with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Nicole didn’t speak English, but Diane spoke it well enough to be understood.
Nicole took Owen’s hand and spoke two of the few English words she knew.
“Come on.” They took him on a tour of the town. One stop was in an Ice cream parlor, which an uncle owned. Owen tried to pay for the ice cream, but Diane stopped him.
“It’s frowned on if we let you pay. Put up money.” Owen didn’t want to offend anyone, so the money went back into his pocket. They ended the tour at a bowling alley in the basement of their home.The second story home covered almost the entire area of a city block. Owen couldn’t believe a bowling alley was down there. Jerry, a brother managed the place as well as a grill and pro shop.
“Owen can you bowl?”
“I can keep the ball out of the gutter.”
“What size shoes do you wear.” This was a challenge. He had to back up his words with action.
“Size eleven.” He grabbed the shoes and went in search of a ball. Two lanes were turned on. Owen took several practice shots and waited on Jerry. A twelve lane house in his home town allowed Owen to get in much practice. Him and that manager were good friends which got him free bowling.
Even with a house ball, he beat the pants off Jerry. After two games Jerry had to go and turn over the register to his night manager. They went upstairs for supper. Much talk in French occurred during the meal.
Yvette said, “Jerry can’t believe you beat him at his game and in his own house.” Owen realized that was what all the talk was about.
Early the next morning the Ford was packed and Jackie, Jack, Yvette, Jerry, and Nicole headed to their cabin in the woods. Owen just thought the town was at the end of civilization. They stopped at a ranger station. Owen couldn’t believe his eyes. The paved road ended, the power lines ended, and a dirt road entered a solid wall of trees, thick, dark, and ominous. They gave the ranger their names and next of kin as an emergency contact person. Their destination and the number of days they intended to stay was also given.
Another hours drive was necessary before they turned right onto a logging road. They went another twenty two miles stopping once to prepare to cross a sand pit. The car was unloaded and everybody but a driver exited the Ford. Twenty four inch wide pieces of plywood was stacked near-by. They were placed as runners for the tires. The ones in back were moved to the front until the car crossed this dangerous area. Owen walked across carrying a heavy cooler full of food and drinks. His shoes were full of sand by the time he got across.
The cabin finally came into view. Firewood was stacked on the front porch and a beautiful lake was out back. Owen noticed a Jeep wagon parked under a shelter and a small boat was turned upside down beside the vehicle. This wasn’t some one room shack. It had six bedrooms and a large great room with a long table and two benches at one end of the great room. There was no bathroom inside. The outhouse was near-by though. Owen was given the task of starting a fire, first in the fireplace, then the wood stove. The older girls cooked lunch. Owen and Nicole took a walk.
“Come on.” It was among her limited vocabulary of English. She stopped by the vehicle and took out a bolt action rifle and motioned for Owen to take it. He nodded and checked it. The barrel was clean and the weapon was well oiled. Nicole went to the pocket between the front seats and retrieved magazines and ammo. Owen’s rifle was a 30/06. A powerful weapon capable of bringing down even an elephant. Nicole took the other rifle from the rack and loaded it. She handed an empty mag to Owen along with some ammo and watched to see what he would do. He quickly filled the mag and put it into the rifle. He just passed another test.
They walked down the logging road only a few yards when a cow moose jumped onto the road, snorted and pawed the ground. Nicole fired one round over the animals head to scare it off. The moose continued in the same direction. Within seconds a small calf hopped onto the road, took one look at the humans and ran after its mother. Nicole took Owen’s hand as if nothing had happened. About a mile down the road they came upon a logging camp. One man was there preparing the camp for the approaching winter. He greeted Nicole and shook Owen’s hand.
“I heard a shot. You’ll alright.”
“Nicole fired just to scare off a moose.” His English was laced with a heavy accent, but understandable.
“Son, there are animals out there that won’t be scared off and they will attack without warning. Stay alert.”
“Yes sir. Do you know these people?”
Ya, I look after the cabin while they are away. Cut firewood for them and secure it for the winter. How long you stay here.”
“About a week, I think.” He nodded his understanding.
On the way back to the cabin, Nicole handed Owen her rifle and gave him the OK sign, then kissed him.
Early the next morning Jerry ask for Owen’s help.
"Come on and let’s get the boat out and take it to the lake.” Fishing tackle and life jackets and well as two paddles were put into the boat. Owen thought Jerry wanted to go fishing with him. To his surprise, Nicole took a small sack of food and drinks to the boat and motioned for Owen to join her. For a girl who didn’t speak his language, she had no problem conveying her intentions. They paddled around the point out of sight of the cabin and Owen got another shock. Nicole moved back and sat on Owen’s lap facing him. She kissed him several times, pulled back and smiled, then kissed him some more. Owen got brave and touched her in the wrong place. She just slowly moved his hand and kissed him some more. After a few minutes of this make-out session, she moved back to the front of the boat and picked up a fishing rod. Nicole once again made her intentions clear. They were to catch lunch. It didn’t take long to catch twelve nice tout.
On a fish cleaning area on the dock, it was Owen’s turn to impress his new girlfriend. He took a knife and filleted those fish in short order. Owen Washed them in lake water and took them to the cabin to be cooked. They went fishing almost every day but that first day was the only make-out session. A few hugs and quick kisses were offered from time to time though.
One night Owen went outside. He viewed a sight that took his breath. There were millions of stars shinning. Yvette joined him.
“You know Nicole likes you don’t you?”
“She has let me know that.”
“You really have impressed her. She now has bragging rights with her brother caused you beat him bowling. Nicole didn’t think you would know how to use a rifle or know how to fish.”
“Would you tell her for me, that I live on a farm and do all those things everyday.”
“Jackie already asked me to tell her. Oh look. It’s the northern lights.”
“I’ve read about them, but never thought I would get to see it.” They stayed out until Yvette started shivering from the night air. Owen was getting cold also, but didn’t dare go back inside and miss that light show. Yvette came close and they put his arms around each other to add a little warmth, but didn’t move otherwise. Jackie came out to see what they were doing.
Smiling, she said, "OK Yvette. Stop flirting with my little brother.”
“Come here and look at this.” Jackie was just as awe inspired as her little brother. One by one the entire group went out to see the light show. It was a sight to be seen.
The vacation ended all to quickly and the trip home was full of memories of a beautiful French-Canadian girl and their end-of-summer fling. He remembered her perfume, her soft lips, and her holding his hand on that tour through town. He remembers the cute saying she taught him. Pour mon anniversaire, je veux un beatle Translated it was, “For my birthday, I want a Beatle.”
Owen sent her a Christmas card, but never got a reply. Several months after the holiday, he found out why. Yvette told Jackie that Nicole got Polio and was crippled. He wondered if she would be forced to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
Owen was glad he wasn’t given a photo of her in a wheelchair. He was thankful of the beautiful memories of her during that wonderful vacation and didn't want to remember her any other way.