Sweat dripped off my face as I carried my suitcase from the bedroom to the entryway. Putting it down, I said to my daughter sitting at the dining room table, “The name and the telephone number of the fishing resort where we’ll be staying is on the table.
Fanning herself, Tammie sighed, “Don’t worry Mom. I’ll be fine. I just hope it’s cooler in Canada for you and Daddy.”
Stepping out onto the back deck, I watched my husband tighten the trailer straps holding our boat down. Heat radiated up from the wooden deck boards, making my feet uncomfortably hot. Arnie glanced over at me and said, “Thelma and Gene will be here soon. Bring our suitcases out and put them in the truck.”
Shaking my head wearily, I said, “It’s 100 degrees today. I’m leaving them in the house until we’re absolutely ready to drive away so our toiletries don’t get cooked and ruined!”
Just as I turned to go back into the house, our fishing friends arrived. Getting out of their truck, Gene said, “I hope it’s cooler in Canada!”
Thelma said, “The lake we’re going to is so far north, it HAS to be cooler!”
The resort we were visiting this year was farther north than any other I’d visited thus far, meaning hours and hours of driving to get there. When we finally arrived at our destination, it was no cooler. The resort owner cheerfully reported that their thermometers were showing 100 degrees, too.
Once our boats were in the water we decided to go fishing to cool off. Breezes generated by speeding across open water toward promising bays afforded us minor relief. Jamming a minnow on my hook I grumbled to Arnie, “This is like fishing from a fish boil pot!”
Arnie laughed, “It’s not that bad. The fish are more comfortable than we are. Their biggest problem is trying to avoid being eaten by bigger fish.”
Storm clouds had piled up on the horizon by the time we returned to our cabin. I thought, “Good. It’ll cool off after a storm.” That night wild wind roared across the lake and rain pelted down. Our boats tied at the dock bounced and twisted.
In the morning, not only was it still hot, but we also found Gene’s boat sunk next to the dock. This was not a good way to start a vacation. Finding a repair shop and a motor replacement was our first goal.
Each day of the trip was blisteringly hot, but we went fishing anyway. At times, I almost forgot how sticky and miserable I felt. I forgot when I pulled in keeper-sized walleyes, watched bald eagles catch fish and carry them to baby eaglets in their nest. One evening we saw a dozen loons float in a wide circle near the bay we fished. They called long, lonely wails into the gathering dusk.
While we did catch fish that week, we never did bring in the “humongous” walleye that Gene was hoping for. The guys decided that the lake had too many large musky and northern pike preying on the smaller fish we preferred.
On the last afternoon of our vacation, I put down my rod and exclaimed, “I’m so hot, I don’t even want to fish! Let’s just go for a boat ride. Maybe that will cool us off.” It didn’t help. There was no relief. The breezes stirred up by our movement felt like hot air coming out of a fully stoked furnace during the winter.
Thelma and Gene were back at the cabin when we returned. None of us felt like eating. The men pulled out cold beer to drink while Thelma and I waded on the edge of the lake. As if reading each other’s mind, we each carried plastic lawn chairs into waist-deep water and sat down. Gene made and handed icy, brandy old fashions to Thelma and me.
For the first time in a week I felt cool and relaxed! The tepid water lapped at my shoulders as I savored the sweet drink and felt the alcohol entering my veins. There was no need to drink more. The moment was etched in my memory. To this day, whenever someone talks about wanting to find a hot fishing spot, I know Arnie and I visited the place. It isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.