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The Glendays: Of Tractors, Frogs, & Yellow Submarines

 

So, by now you must have guessed by the theme of many of the stories here—uncles, cousins, grandmas and grandpas—that Al was a firm believer in nepotism. Close to 20 members of the family worked at one time or other at Stork Lake and his other resorts. This is a story about the Glendays.

Diane Glenday was Al’s sister. Her husband Don agreed to come up and help at Stork one summer. Like all the staff, he stayed in a one room cabin with no plumbing without a word of complaint. In fact, Don was one of the cheeriest staff members Stork Lake had ever seen. He preferred to work around camp. One job he loved was driving the tractor, moving, luggage, supplies and firewood from one area to another.

A family man, it wasn’t easy for Don to be away from his six children for the whole summer. Enter two of his children, Kent, 13, and Kim, 11. For Lori & Phil, (who were now eight and 12), having their two cousins there was GOLD. What could be better than having two of your closest cousins at the lake with you? Some days were work. Phil and Kent would rake the beach, clean out the minnow tank, or assigned to garbage duty. The girls would set tables, do dishes, or help Uncle Don on his tractor, delivering logs from the mill to their final destination, usually a new building being erected. While young boys on garbage detail seems like an ordinary chore, young girls helping to move logs does not. But indeed they did.

The mill was at the bottom of rather steep hill, some ways away from the camp. Although the tractor had no problem going down, it did not have enough power to climb back up the hill with a full load. Thus, they had to travel through a labyrinth of paths through the bush, with subtle elevation changes, in order to get back up the hill.  The girls’ job was to sit in the back of the tractor’s wagon, on top of the logs. This kept them from bouncing too much whenever they hit a bump or rut as they travelled through the bush.  Once they cleared the bush and entered the camp, the tractor then had to go down a hill and make a sharp turn to keep from ending up in the lake. This is when the girls jump out, and  pull on the back of the wagon, helping to slow the tractor, and make sure momentum didn’t take them into the drink.

When not busy at work, it was all out boy versus girl war. Phil and Kent would pop out and scare the girls on while they were trying to enjoy hikes, drop leeches on them while they sunbathed, and pushed them off the dock into the lake.

Nighttime, the pranks cranked up.

Don’s small cabin barely contained his twin bed and washstand, and certainly couldn’t house his two children, so after much cajoling and promises of good behaviour, Helen reluctantly allowed the four kids to stay in a larger one room cabin by themselves. However, two prankish boys staying with their younger sisters was a recipe of delightful torment for all. They played musical chairs with the beds and stole the girls’ stashes of contraband chocolate bars and pop.  They wouldn’t leave so the girls could have privacy putting their jamas on, leaving them to undress under their sleeping bags. They then stole their chamber potty, so they nothing to pee in, but instead had to make the long trek up the hill to the outhouse, in the dark.  Worst of all, they sang “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” over and over, till the wee hours of the night.

Now back in the '60s, kids were tough cookies. There was no ‘whinin' or ‘snitchin’. The two young girls weren't about to run to a grown-up and spill the beans on the boys. Instead, they cooked up a plan, a righteous plan for revenge.

After dinner one night, the boys, attired in their swimsuits and holding towels, strolled up to Lori and Kim, cool as can be. “Wanna come swimmin' with us?" Phil asked, flashing a grin.

Lori shot back, her voice brimming with sass, "Not a chance! You just wanna push us in or sling leeches our way!"

"Yeah, and we've moved out of the cabin," Kim added. "We're done with your pranks and your never-ending serenades, Phil. Lori and I moved back to the house cabin, and guess what? I'm taking over your room."

Phil shrugged. "I don't care if you're in my room, we now have a bachelor cabin and you guys have to stay with mom and dad! C'mon, Kent, let's make some waves!” And with that, the two boys ran down to the dock and dove in.

Lori and Kim looked at each other and grinned.  “It's time!”

The boys horsed around in the water, splashing and laughing till they couldn't splash no more. Finally, they climbed up on the dock, towels in hand, and started their journey back to the cabin, where they changed out of their wet suits and into their pj’s. Grabbing a pop, they each crept into their bed, Then, out of the blue, a cry pierced the air. "There's something cold and slimy in my bed!"

“Me too! Oh my god there’s frogs EVERYWHERE.”  Kent’s eyes were as bug-eyed as the green reptiles hopping around everywhere. The boys started grabbing frogs as fast as they could, then flung open the door to start flinging them out. And there stood the girls, doubled over with laughter. "What's the matter? Don’t like sharing your beds with frogs?"

The boys turned towards the sound, shocked “You guys did this?”

“Yup,” said Kim proudly. “Wish we could have stuck you in a yellow submarine beneath the waves with them, but this had to do!”

And so, beneath the starlit sky of the 1960s, the Glenday and Reid cousins forged memories that would last a lifetime, memories that would be passed down through the generations, tales of frogs, pranks, and the enduring love of family.

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