I grew up in this painting, in fact it was painted by a friend of my mother's. It is Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island and the wonderful mountain in the background is Mount Arrowsmith, which is the largest mountain on Vancouver Island. Sproat Lake has 144 miles of shoreline and 13 islands. When I was a teenager living on Vancouver Island, my friends and I spent July and August living at Sproat Lake. The girls, Fae, Bonnie, Ann and I, stayed at Fae’s place and the boys, Doug, Bill, Gary and Randy, stayed next door at Doug’s place. We were only 13 or 14 at the time, and not really dating boys yet, but it was our first venture into flirting.
I’ll never forget one warm summer evening, the girls were lounging on the wharf, trying to look sexy. The boys attempted to impress us by jumping off the roof of their boathouse. We pretended to be very mysterious, and ignore them. But as the boys leapt off the roof and flew towards the water, each one of them lost their bathing trunks in mid air.
Make no mistake, God is a woman, and She has a sense of humor. The girls’ shrieks could be heard echoing around all 144 miles of shoreline. And then the loons took up the cacophony. Fay, Bonnie, Ann and I still get together occasionally, and without fail one of us says, “Remember the day the boys….?”
One afternoon after a day of swimming, we all went back Doug’s place to hang out. Doug asked me to make him a sandwich. Big mistake. From a very young age, I have had a feisty streak. It gets me into trouble all the time.
“Sure, you just sit where you are and read your newspaper. I’ll make you a sandwich.”
I opened the fridge to see what was there, and I found a can of dog food. I buttered the bread, spread the dog food, added a little ketchup, cut the sandwich up nicely, just so, and served it to Doug. He loved it.
“This is really good, what is this? I didn’t know my Mom had anything this good in the fridge. Can you make me another sandwich?”
“I would be happy to…!”
After wolfing down the second sandwich, Doug asked me what I had served him, and I held up the can of dog food. And then I started running. Doug chased me all over the property with the rolled up newspaper in his hands. I hid behind trees, in ditches, behind logs, watching his feet running by like cartoon characters. He finally caught me, after I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer. To my surprise, he laughed as well.
For years afterwards, whenever I ran into Doug and he was with a group of his friends, he would always point to me and say, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” Lucky for him, he didn’t.
I hope on warm summer evenings, that somewhere there are still girls and boys learning about each other by just having goofy fun.