Essay Writing Help
Essay Writing Help:As a newly married couple, Mom and Dad’s first years were spent teaching in a northern Ontario school. Their main meat supply was moose.
One day, Dad and Mom slipped into the two-seater airplane soaring over the treetops in search of a moose. Landing on a lonely northern lake they taxied up to the tree-lined shore, tied the strut to a sturdy tree, and set up camp.
One of Mom’s claims to fame, in Dad’s opinion, was her guttural moose call. After calling a few times, they heard an eager response from a moose that thought she had found her mate. After shooting the moose, they crawled into their sleeping bags and slept in the crisp northern air.
Waking up at the crack of dawn, Dad decided to go and pick up another man to help haul the meat back to be butchered.
Whispering gently into his new bride’s ear, he asked, “Do you want to go back with me or stay here?”
Mom grunted and settled back to sleep. She awoke minutes later to the roar of the engine taking off across the glassy lake. Fear gripped her heart as she realized there was a huge mis-communication that went on in her sleepy state.
The sound of an angry bull moose sent shivers through her as she realized he was looking for his mate whom they had killed the night before. Looking around for a place of safety, she spotted a branch-less tree that had a “V” at the top. Climbing to the top of that “pole” with an axe clutched tightly in her hand as her only weapon, she felt safe knowing that she had the upper hand.
Her sense of relaxation in her perch did not last long as she looked down at the smoldering fire realizing that if Clair had an accident, no one would know where she was located leaving her to survive on her own. So down the tree she shimmied to tend to the fire. She heard the moose crashing through the trees again but if the angry creature made his appearance in camp he could not have found the female unless he would look high up in the branch-less tree!
This happened a few times before Mom heard the welcomed sound of the Luscombe engine coming closer. As the pontoons eased onto the forsaken lake, Mom came down from her perch because she did not want to be seen up there.
- After a time of discussing the events that occurred in the wee hours of the morning, Mom told her story.
- Looking at the tree in disbelief, Dad said, “Climb it again so I can see it with my own eyes and take a picture for the archives.”
- Try as she might, Mom could not climb that tree! With Dad pushing and shoving from behind, she finally made it to the top. Yes, it is amazing what a city slicker gets herself into!
- This is a snapshot of Mom’s life…living with a man on a mission!
- When Judy was around 12 years old, I remember there was conflict in the home.
Mom reflects on that time, “Dad was going to send Judy to a boarding school in Winnipeg. But it didn’t make sense to me. I’m not sure I even voiced how I felt about it. In those years, Dad was more forceful and I was more reticent about what I was feeling. But because of the clashes between Clair and Judy, he did not see his own part as much.We thought maybe she needs to get away from us for a while.
“Then he really felt convicted after Leo Keesic pointed out that verse in Malachi 4:6, ”He shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their father lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
The window was cold against Carolyn’s forehead. Dad wanted the three girls to go along with him to Stirland. This was a normal occurrence since Dad’s work was in the northern communities of Ontario.
After the girls finished pumping the floats and filling the plane with gas, they piled in. Twelve-year-old Judy was in the back with the sleeping bag and gas cans. Her younger sisters, Sharon and Carolyn, sat as joint passengers shot-gun with dad.
After flying for a while, the weather started to get bad. As the single engine plane glided over top of the pine trees, Carolyn was petrified. Staring at the lakes trying to decide what their shape could be, she sat there leaning toward the door with her head pressed into the Plexiglas. Under her breath she was singing, “God will take care of you ’til death…” The vibrations of the small plane against her forehead made her singing reverberate matching the rhythm of her beating heart.
With the clouds coming lower and the dusk coming closer, they needed some place to go. Lighting matches while trying to read his map, Clair finally decided it was too dark to go on. Banking the plane hard, he gently set it down on a lonely lake below them.
- They floated all around the remote northern lake trying to find a place to tie up for the night.
- “I wonder where we’ll sleep and what we’ll eat.” Judy thought quietly from the back seat.
- “There’s a rock, Dad!” Sharon said.
After quietly drifting around for a long time they finally stopped close to the only high and dry rock around the whole, swampy lake.
Dad stepped down onto the pontoon and paddled over to the shore. Then he grabbed the rope as he jumped onto the rock. While he tied the plane to the tree, nine-year-old Carolyn jumped out onto the float, Sharon came on behind ducking under the strut while Judy crawled over the seat.
“This looks like bedrock!” Dad said and began to set in motion the series of events that would turn it into a rock bed for the night.
The evening was full of excitement. The girls had complete trust in their father to take care of things since he was relaxed and in his element. The three young girls sat by the fire while their dad made a lovely fire, cooked the chicken soup, and brought in firewood for the night.
- With an air of excitement, he opened the emergency rations and said, “Here, girls! We can eat some WorldWar ll pemmican*!”
- The hard candies from the rations were sweet. The soup and tea were hot and soothing.
- In the darkness of the night around, sitting by the warm fire with the shadows of the trees behind, there was an absence of tension. Dad put down branches.
“Okay girls, come lay down,” Dad said, calling them to their “bed-rock”. Being the oldest, Judy slept on the edge where the cold crept in throughout the night. Dad opened the big Army & Navy sleeping bag and lay it over them all.
Three adolescent girls sleeping out in the wild with their father looking after them filled their need for love and adventure!
*Pemmican is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein used as a nutritious food. The word comes from the Cree word pimîhkân, “pemmican”, which itself is derived from the word pimî, “fat, grease”. It was invented by the native peoples of North America.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemmican
Peering out the window, I felt so scared. With my face pressed against the Plexiglas, I drifted between fear and sleep. We were bobbing over top of the treetops again. This time, rain was pelting against the windshield.
Dad was bristling with intensity, trying to decide if we can make it to Cat Lake ten minutes away. As the visibility came down, Dad picked a lake below us. A quick look for rocks and we came in over the trees for a landing. “Swoosh” as the floats touched the water and the plane settled into the taxiing position, rain continued to pelt.
- Taxiing toward shore, Dad tied up the plane to a tree.
- After debating about what we should do for the night, Dad announced, “We’ll take the seats out and sleep in the plane!”
- In the wet, Dad put all the seats under the wing. After putting down pine boughs and laying out the sleeping bags on top, we all snuggled into the sardine-can arrangement.
- “Where’s Mary Lois going to sleep?” I asked.
- “I have a plan.” Dad said, as he made a hammock swinging over top the rest of us.
- With the sound of the rain on the metal of the plane, we lay there in the darkness talking about the day.
- As we were drifting off to sleep, Judy asked, “Who’s tapping my head?!”
- Mom giggled, “I’m just tapping my foot to the song in my head!”
- In the morning, we woke up a mass of bodies with Mary Lois lying on top of us to form the second layer. The coziness of these moments, comforted little Mary.
- After much finagling, the seats were back in.
Dad tried to start the plane. It didn’t start. Dad went to work to tie the rope onto the back of the plane. Then he nosed the plane in towards land so he could hand prop it. I felt scared. Is he OK?
It started! Now he used the rope to turn us around. Dad jumped into the pilot seat. Taxiing out, I watched the floats make their way through the water.
As we took off, the rope was flapping out the back. There were pine boughs still in the plane. Dad was just trying to get us ten minutes to Cat Lake. I was cold. I was hungry.
Dad landed at Cat Lake. I felt relief. We all jumped out onto the dock, climbed up the hill to the mission house and took off our outer layer of clothing. There was a huge pile in the missionary lady’s laundry room from all our dirty, wet clothing. I wonder what the lady thought about all this mess in her house!
She called us for breakfast. There was a large steaming pot of oatmeal. Wow. No oatmeal had tasted like this one! I was so cold and hungry! Sitting by the wood stove and eating hot oatmeal warmed me up and filled my hunger.
- Before long, Dad motioned towards the door saying, “Come, girls. Let’s go sing for Old Man Wesley”
- It’s not what I wanted to do right then but I went.
- Mary Lois sang “Here comes Jesus. See Him walking on the water…” for Old Man Wesley. Her little hands did the motions. He roused. There was a hushed feeling in the room.
- “Guess what! Old Man Wesley made peace with God the day after we were there and then he died!” Mom reported to us girls the next day.
Sunday, October 20, 1979 (Slave Lake) 17 year old Sharon journaled:
At some unsightly hour of the morning, I woke up to some commotion. Carolyn was jumping around, with the cat at her heels. Apparently, she thought he was ready to gobble her up. By this time, the five of us sisters in our sleeping bags were awake, laughing and trying to give Carolyn advice from our positions but the only one to offer help was Mary Lois. She ran to Mom to see if she would have some suggestions, braving the run through the cat and dog. Mom locked the cat in his closet and we settled down for sleep. But, tenderhearted as she is, and partly out of fear from the angry dog, Carolyn let the kitty out of her misery, and instead put a barricade between us and the kitchen with the “wildabeastas”.
Again, with everything in the plane, we started out for Red Earth, about a 45 minutes flight, with me as pilot in command. Mom was proud of the way I greased the plane on the gravel strip when we arrived.
With stories like these in our memory bank, I have wanted to write them down. So years ago, my sisters and I started emailing memories and one girl’s memory would trigger another.
As these emails were flying around, Dad wrote,
Dear Silly-Billy girls, is anyone saving all these emails in a “folder” on their computer or even in a “hard folder” for the future. The interactions are priceless. Some make me laugh and laugh, some make me cry; some make me pity you all and others make me rejoice. How can we afford to lose something that is priceless? We can’t, can we? Your most lovely father, namely, Clair
At some point we started talking about a sisters’ writing trip and the following emails came through:
Before I lay me down to sleep, I have some thoughts that cannot keep
We’ve talked of writing together for years, and I don’t think a book will happen without us getting together purposefully to do it, so to me it is worth doing this. A published book may not happen, but writing can! So I think that is a reasonable and worthy goal, but what do you think? I like what Judy said below as a purpose for this trip: “Sister Time/Processing and Writing Memories/Pondering Publication’ Trip.” Love from your tired almost-ready-to-resign-as-self-appointed-project-manager-after-one-day-on-the-job sister, (and IF I did hashtags I would say #ineedhelp #projectmanagerforfamilystuffisabigjob #lovemysisterstho’ #sisterswritingtripherewecome … but I don’t do hashtags … or didn’t!)
P.S. One thing this has accomplished is that it is definitely broadening my horizons, which is what Mark recommended, so I guess my time and thought today has not been in vain but I am not much readier for my trip! 🙂
Steve’s advice is: “Go somewhere south and have a blast.” He also added, “Mary can boss everyone around but me [as in Steve].”
This was in reference to an earlier email where Mary said, “Dear Brother in laws and sisters 🙂 For my sisters: Since Dad always said I could boss the older ones and I never remembered to do it, here is my chance…I am declaring myself Project Manager. 🙂 Any opposed, please say so now, and we will do a democratic vote (to put she who opposes in charge). (I will not charge a fee for my services)”
Getting together for a sister weekend sounds like a hoot! Warmth and sunshine and water sound wonderful, too!
Writing our memories down as sisters is something I really want to do! Doing it on a writing weekend sounds like a memory in itself!
Duane and I talked as well, and he thinks that time spent processing life with my sisters is valuable, and doing it around a possible book works for him. So, Timbuktu (or wherever we go), here we come! The Hottentots (or whoever the locals will be) won’t know what hit ’em!
it’s inside five different people’s brains…it’s just all of them talking about what they see other people doing….it’s alot of switching around with one person’s opinion to another person’s opinion and the personalities come through that way.
Katie’s quote above…I think I like this the best of all her words…and then her comments about the uniqueness of 5 sisters, no brothers…and paving our own way, and like the ‘mind chemistry’ Katie talked about..interesting interesting…and like judy said the interesting thread…because right after Cathie’s email in my thread after Katie & Amy’s words, it says: “Cuba does not feel right to me because I don’t want to be somewhere worrying that I am illegal…”
This seems to be working out WELL! Sister trip, extraordinaire. I like Mary’s thoughts about receiving a gift. (Can’t say I remember being part of a lot of conversations about celebrating milestone birthdays, but we sure can celebrate them.) Thank you Mary for everything. Yesterday, I was telling Duane about how I was getting huffy on the phone with Mary about how I didn’t see how driving to Galena was less tiring than flying to Galena, so I guess I haven’t always been a model of cooperation, but I’m learning to accept my lack of perfection…….
I am going through some boxes. I have some family cards/letters (written to me) organized in envelopes from different time periods (ie: 1990-1994) … is this something I should go through? What time periods are we interested in? I know some of my stuff (because I’m youngest) is from after you guys were gone from home. What do you think?
We could just center it around my life (Ha ha) starting our writings in 1972 when I was born and Judy was 11 and ending when I got my pilot’s license at age 18 in 1991! (I’m not egocentric or anything!)
When I really got down to it…I finally bought some Omni box bins from Canadian tire so I could sort my diaries better, organize them…the interesting thing is…there are not that many diaries…I mean through the years I have SO many diaries, but when I take ten years’ worth of diaries, there really aren’t that many and the funny thing is… besides a few poems, a few letters, and two journals that I had to write when I was in grade seven, I really don’t have much before my age sevent-teen year old journals that I was sending around. where did the lost years go? did I not write diaries when I was 15, 16 and younger?? seems pretty weird!!…
Sharon and I went through logbooks today (a BRILLIANT idea of Sharon’s I must say!) and the 206 was purchased in Jan 78 and it seems like our main flying in there was until 83… so we are wondering if those are the years to focus on. Sharon is photocopying logbook entries today