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Working-an autobiography from 1971-

My working life in a wide variety of occupations.
Expanded stories of some notable places of employment as well as a general overview of life's flow.

Note-Chapters are posted in reverse order,so scroll to the earliest to read in order.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The summer progresses

As owners of the camp, the United Church reserved July and most of August to run its own series of camps that included Novice (6-8 yrs old) Junior Girls and boys (separately run for ages 8-teen) and co-ed for the teens followed by Family camp for all ages.
After the church camps were another two regular yearly scheduled private bookings by a Tai-Chi club and a hippy-like group after them.
That took the camp time up to around Labour Day after which it was closed down for the year.
The church employed the same cook for many years.
Lorna was in her 70s and had been at the camp herself as a girl.
My first duty each morning was to be across the lake where she lived with her own private dock and terrific waterfront acreage.

She and her husband had run an organic farm on the site for decades as well as a firewood business.
Her husband, even though around 80 and with bad arthritis and diabetes still ran both operations and still had time to come across on occasion to help us fall trees.
I was usually able to awake to my alarm and be over by 7 except for once when I was so worn out I slept through both the alarm clock ringing and my watch alarm.
I thought both had failed until Doug, the lifeguard reported they'd certainly woken him up in the next room.
On a few other occasions the early morning fog was so thick I had to navigate by feel to end up where the dock should be on her side.
Coming back to the camp I could use a landmark of the mountain in behind the camp to approximate where I should aim, but still suddenly came out of the thick fog to find I was down in an area of stumps where the boat could get hung up a few hundred yards from my goal.
Lorna stored perishables in her own freezer that I had delivered weeks before and would carry across as needed.
Once we were back I could relax as she prepared breakfast for over 80 campers with the help of an assistant cook who stayed on site as I did.
I would sit at my table being fed and coffee'd first before the bell was rung and the kids who were forced to have an icy dip before eating rushed to the dining hall, stopping to see Boo-Boo and wave hello to me.
I then started my chores doing whatever I felt was a priority.
the two days David and I had together we shared the morning pickup and then worked together.
David was a very bright fellow who dreamed of a film making career.
He had the ability and had won scholarships to Emily Carr College and kept a sketch book nearby which he amused everyone with as we checked his latest cartoons.
At the beginning of each week the camps began and we had to be at the Mac Donald's landing dock by about 8:30 to begin ferrying the campers and their gear.
Usually David or Peter took the campers in the fast boat while I chugged across in the Aeroliner with it piled high with duffel bags and other gear, peering around the load to see my course as the boat sat very low in the water.
I usually took a few people as well and they found a place to perch as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Boo-Boo was always stationed at the end of the dock waiting to wash my face as I attempted to tie up the boat upon landing.
That boat must have been well designed as we felt safe in very rough water which can whip up very quickly and would use the old boat rather than the fast Starcraft if there was a storm afoot.
By about 10 we were done and the campers were settling in as we resumed our duties.
David and Peter handled the return trips on Saturday mornings while I was off work on my weekend.
When Lorna's assistant who was a cranky older lady suddenly quit, she was in a bit of a dizzy.
One morning as I sat at my "post" three very cute girls about 15 dressed in their pj's entered the kitchen to see if there was any leftover hot chocolate from the previous night's campfire time.
As I enjoyed their very lively company, one of the girls on overhearing of the cook's departure mentioned she had Food Safe and volunteered to step in.
For the next few weeks, Nikki helped Lorna and proved to be a very capable young lady and a great pleasure to be around.

Frank would come over whenever he had days off and we would tackle a big project such as hooking up the X-BC Forestry trailer converted to showers and washrooms formerly used by fire fighting crews.
We had a very pleasant time repairing the burst pipes due to freeze-ups and hooked up a wood-fired water heater for the showers.
We also had a deck to build around it and planned to re-shingle the bland white siding with red cedar shakes to give it a rustic appearance.
We spent many hours clearing brush from trails and cutting firewood, both jobs being enjoyable to us.
The two jobs nobody liked were going to Nelson to pickup propane and transporting the gas barrels across from the dock using an open boat employed as a scow.
The barrels were taken across empty and left at dockside. An Esso fuel truck came along early on Thursday mornings and filled them.
We had to rush over before they were pilfered and manhandle them into the "scow" and tow them back hoping for calm water as the weight of the full drums greatly reduced the free board on it.

Then we drove into Nelson to have the propane bottles filled at the Mohawk station and returned to the dock with the heavy cargo.
They caused the Aeroliner to sit very low in the water as we chugged back to camp where the hardest part of the job awaited.
On arriving at the dock we had to lift each one up and onto the dock.
Then, using a hand truck we dragged them across the sandy beach and up to the brick house for storage.
 Once the church camps were done, Lorna, Nikki and the life guard were finished and the camp was empty for a week until the Tai-Chi group arrived.
This group had a large budget and employed a gourmet vegetarian cook who I had to pick up at 5:30 every morning!
Luckily the mornings were perfect and I really looked forward to roaring across to pick her up.
She was very pretty and pleasant also which helped and had a toddler little girl who came with her.
Her husband helped load the fresh produce and baking ingredients that amounted to nearly a full boatload every day.
Once in the kitchen she worked hard with the help of a few others and ended up with amazing creations.
She seemed pleased that I relished the menu as some of my previous groundsmen had shunned the food and rushed across the lake to Dairy Queen instead of being adventurous.
The meals were served buffet style with lots to feed the nearly 100 souls, including Boo-Boo who was welcomed into the dining hall by the very relaxed campers.
at breakfast there were organic juices and Rice Dream (which I loved!) as well as gourmet Osso Negro Coffee (also a favourite of mine).
I was instructed to only do quiet work in the mornings where a code of silence was ordered. Boo-Boo seemed to comply also as she moved between the groups doing sword practice, completely oblivious to the possible danger of slicing weapons.
There was a lot more boat usage too to accommodate various campers throughout the day and into early evening.
 We often felt like cabbies as we had a list of times to be ready which cut into our normal routine, as well as sitting across the lake waiting to return tardy people.

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