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End of a Guides Day

The guide has returned his wards back to their lodge. It has been a good day. The ladies’ parasols have kept the sun off their milky white shoulders. The sports have, by this time, eaten their catch; thanks to the lodge cook.

The guide has observed that evening scene over and over. The ladies are clustered around a table discussing the various attributes and faults of their men. The men are hunched over a table of poker chips and are doing their best to fool each other while getting drunk.

The guide has no need to visit those scenes one more time. His need is solitude and preparation for tomorrow. The morning will bring yet another group of visitors to his lakeside.

His work is not finished but darkness arrives. He builds a fire of pine boughs to light up the area around his guide boat. A rusty can holds some pine pitch. A split limb is used to apply the pitch to a new leak in his boat that he has noticed that day.

An old rag is dipped in the lake. It will suffice to clean the mud off the boat floor. The ladies do not appreciate the mud. This reminds him to lay some new pine boughs on the path to the boat. This may keep most of the mud off the ladies high-top buttoned shoes.

He checks the old milk pail to see if he has enough bait worms for tomorrow’s customers. He does; and then he checks a hand-made box to see if there are enough grubs also. He smiles, knowing that he will not have to pick nightwalkers tonight or turn over old logs tomorrow morning to find more grubs.

His work is complete. He now sits on a rock and lights up his briar pipe. The sounds of the owl and the loon slide over the water. A moon keeps him company on his night-watch. There is an ever-so-slight reflection of the forest on the smooth surface of the lake. This is the payment he receives for his work.

The “sports” give him a few cents when they catch a fish and this makes him happy. The ladies hike up their long skirts when they get in the boat and that makes him happy. But the end of a busy day and the knowledge that all he purviews is his, that is what really pleases him.


Tahawas and Tomosky c