After travelling the 100 miles or so down Highway 502 expecting to find an outfitter who could rent us a small fishing boat, Deidre and I found ourselves tent camping in your neat little town park on Rainy Lake.
No boats were available, although we did spot a rack of canoes near the hotel complex (there was no one around to ask about them). So Deidre settled for bank fishing from the rocks along the park beach and I went for the public pier. No luck.
Then along comes Kathy, one of your residents, to stop her bicycle and strike up a friendly conversation with Deidre. The “boat” subject came up and pretty soon Kathy suggested that Mel, her husband, might have some ideas.
In less than an hour, Mel showed up on his three-wheel bike and, much to our amazement, offered us the use of his pontoon for the following day—no strings attached.
This is unbelievable. These people don’t know us at all and yet they are willing to trust us like this! We have travelled to a lot of places and met many good people, but this takes the cake!
After a short trial run that evening to prove that we knew how to run the boat, we excitedly jumped into our sleeping bags full of anticipation for the next day. We had their boat, boat keys, lifejackets, gasoline, and lake maps (I also must mention the emergency lunch of granola bars).
With only the promise that we would take good care of things and call them for a nice dinner that night, we shoved off for a wonderful day alone on Rainy Lake. We fished our brains out all day and still wound up “fishless,” but we had a great time.
Mel was so upset that we had not caught fish that he insisted upon taking us out the next morning to show us what we were doing wrong. He did. We caught fish—and have the pictures to prove it!
Now then, why are we writing this letter? First of all, to express our gratitude to Mel and Kathy for their extraordinary trust and generosity. We are simply overwhelmed.
Secondly, we would like to offer the suggestion that the park authorities consider running a boat livery in the summer to attract more business to the park.
We couldn’t find a boat anywhere until our benefactors, Mel and Kathy, come along.
With much respect,
Bill & Deidre Hawkins
Nashville, Ind., USA
P.S. I know this is a little long, but it was hard to shorten our appreciation for your beautiful town and Fort Frances residents.