Memories of Dad

This Sunday marks Father’s Day. It was not until 1910 that the day was celebrated in North America. Then Sonora Smart Dodd marked the third Sunday in June to recognize fathers. Historically the celebration of fathers began in the Middle Ages and was marked by Saint Joseph Day in the Catholic church.

So many memories of my father revolve around Rainy Lake, fishing and the cabin.

My father enjoyed fishing and on one calm summer’s day, he rented a rowboat from Mrs. Mills who operated Mill’s cabins where the Rendezvous is today. With my brother Don and I, Dad rowed out to the pilings that were strung across the Point Park to hold the log booms. He tied up to one of the pilings and we fished for almost an afternoon. I was lucky and somehow snagged a walleye.

The passion of fishing grew from there. Often our fishing only included going to the Five Mile Dock and fishing from the pier. The Causeway was under construction and Lloyd’s barges were tied there to make delivery to camps around the lake. On a Saturday, with a minnow bucket, and lunches prepared we would walk along the tracks to the Five Mile Lift bridge and fish from the pier next to the bridge.

We did catch enough fish and walked back to the car with the fish on a steel stringer.

When I was ten, my father acquired a cedar Admiral skiff. It had a fibreglass covered bottom and dad reinforced the transom. Earlier, he had purchased a 10 hp Johnson outboard. The boat was parked at the Sportsman’s landing at Frog Creek, and we would travel down the creek and out into Stanjikoming Bay to fish. That wooden boat was a wonder. Seldom did we ever venture beyond the bay. The whole family went out.

Fishing was good. There were lots of beaches to swim or camp on. We learned to enjoy the outdoors and to appreciate Rainy Lake. Our Centennial family project was to build a cabin on Turtle Island. My mother was shown the location by Mrs. Noden whose husband Bill was the MPP for the riding.

As I sit at the cabin, looking out at the water, I think of the sacrifice he and my mother made to build that cabin on Turtle Island. Pictures on the wall provide the memories that have been created over 50 years of friends and family who have spent time at the cabin. Pictures show how spartan the original cabin was, yet it felt secure and warm when the cookstove heated the open room.

Grandchildren and now great grandchildren come to the cabin enjoying the sounds of wind in the pines, running down the rock to jump in the lake before breakfast, enjoying fresh picked blueberries in pancakes and enjoying the magnificent sunsets from the deck. Dad’s passion for fishing has been passed on to his grandchildren and will be passed to the next generation.

Jim Cumming
Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times