Monday, August 4, 2008

Portage Lake Cabins ... #1 ...

(continued from previous post)

Harry Doyle had been a shipbuilder by trade. He still had one large vessel in his garage that he was putting the finishing touches on. I'd like to say that he was in his 80's, but I don't see how he could have been and still do everything that he did. Certainly, tho, he had to have been well into his 70's!

By hand, he did all of the snow shoveling for a narrow footpath that led down to the front of the cabins from the highway. The day we first arrived was immediately following a pretty good-sized blizzard, so -- as I mentioned last post -- we had to snowshoe in. Mabel, his wife, took care of their parking lot. She towered above him by about a foot, and was an imposing figure. Both were tough as nails!

There was a 24-hour restaurant right next door to their house, and its parking lot was often full of fun-loving, hard-drinking, and very loud young people who would turn up the volume as high as it would go on their car radios and then either sing or dance and laugh the night away. The noise would sometimes drive Harry and Mabel almost crazy!

Well! This one night -- it was in the wee hours of the morning, actually -- Mabel decided that they had had enough!! She grabbed their 12-gauge shotgun and went next door in her flannel nightgown and cap, marched inside, slammed the shotgun down on the counter and announced, "This place is CLOSED!" (What do you think happened next? ... ... The 'patrons' scattered, the place closed, and Mabel and Harry got at least one good night's sleep!)

Another time, Harry decided to electrify their fence. Over the years, it seems, it had become well known that Harry and Mabel were more than a little bothered by the presence of the restaurant, and so some of the restaurant's patrons had cultivated the nasty little habit of tiptoeing over the fence and going into the Doyle's yard in the dead of night, scattering various remnants of their partying activities ... beer bottles, condoms, etc. (Keep in mind that this all occurred fifty or more years ago, OK? I hope you didn't think that this was a 'modern' trend. You didn't did you?? Tsk, tsk!)

Anyway, Harry decided to electrify their fence. I mean, seriously electrify! His intention was to keep unwanted persons out of his yard, only. He really didn't want to 'fry' anyone! And so, he went ahead and did it, posting signs everywhere along the fence.

Complaints were made, and the local law enforcement authorities made him remove it.

Mabel had a girlfriend that she liked to 'party' with. The two of them would, I understand, get seriously drunk and then see what kind of mischief they could get themselves into. (By the way, both of the following stories are true!)

This one time, Mabel and her fellow inebriate decided that it would be just a whole lot of fun to flatten out some cardboard boxes and 'sled' down Hancock hill. That part of the country, folks, is not what one by any stretch of the imagination could call 'flatlands'. No, no, no!

The problem with this idea, however, is that 'Hancock hill' is part of a State Highway! WONderful sledding, but you can't do it! At least, not without the danger of being run over!!

Another time, Mabel (all on her own) decided that it would be fun to flatten the tires of all the cars that were parked on Hancock hill. So, she made her way -- slowly but surely -- on down the hill, letting the air out of every car's tires as she went.

Sure enuf, she was caught in the act. Her punishment? Pumping up every single car's tires that she had flattened with a bicycle pump! (I kid you not.) Mabel confided in me later that she never did that again!

I do have just a few more stories to share with you from our time at Portage Lake Cabins, but those'll be in the next post, OK? Catcha later!


Craig Peihopa said...

They sound like great memories, I am glad you are documenting them. No-one could ever accuse you of being boring and uneventful now could they Goldenrod! Great stuff. Your descriptive language almost makes me feel I know the place well, though I think irrespective of geography we all know people like the characters you have mentioned.

Goldenrod said...

No, no one has ever accused me of being 'boring'. Uneventful, insofar as not precipitating events is concerned, maybe yes. But, that doesn't mean that a lot of events didn't happen around/near me!

By the way, 'characters' is exACTly the term I would have used to apply to Mabel and Harry.

Tammy said...

I think I'd have liked Mabel.

Looking forward to the next installment. :)