At some point during my youth, my parents thought it was a great idea to introduce the family to the great outdoors. My Mother had grown up with a cottage, and my Father, well, he grew up having had some pretty wild adventures. I guess they thought that we needed them too.  After 6 years abroad, we were about to be introduced to the Canadian wilderness, aka, our family cottage.

Our family cottage was overrun by mice, not really a big deal, we had grown up with cockroaches and rats. There was no electricity, not really out of the ordinary for us, we rarely had consistent working power; we couldn’t drink the water for fear of beaver fever, not really out of the norm, as we had never been able even open our mouths in the shower.

So off we went, into the great wilderness and embrace our Canadian spirits.

Our first day, I looked at the lake water, unsure of the murkiness. I had been spoiled by clear ocean water, sure there were sharks in it, but I had never seen one, so I was pretty good and oblivious to it. For 2 days, I stayed back, not sure of this black water. No matter how much my parents and siblings tried to convince me it was fine, it just didn’t look fine. I decided to dip my toes first. I sat on the stairs of the dock and dipped my toes in. It was nice, it felt cool and refreshing. My Father then attempted to splash me, I remembered laughing in excitement.

Then it all went dark, there it was lurking in the shadows, and took a swim a little too close to my leg. I freaked out, screamed, and hopped out so fast. No one saw what I saw, until they got out of the water. It was a massive water snake. It happened to be the biggest water snake anyone at the cottage had seen, ever. As everyone crowded on the dock to look at this enormous snake, an older gentleman, who was older than Santa, and happened to be a retired diplomat, told everyone to stand back. As we all stood back, I was holding a massive net, and a machete (how he got a machete back into the country, I will never know, but apparently, he brought it up to the cottage). The massive snake was caught in the net, and the diplomat older than Santa went out behind the boat house, and we heard the machete hit something sharp. The diplomat older than Santa quietly went back into the cottage, and came back out with a tea-cup filled with Scotch, and sat back down. Everyone went back to business as usual. I never did go back into the water, terrified another snake would appear.

My parents thinking this cottage and wilderness experience would give us something different, as it turns out, it kinda felt like we were back on a posting. I mean, we had the Diplomat older than Santa wielding a Machete, drinking scotch out of a teacup after fighting off a snake. No big deal, right?



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