Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Hi, I'm Mark Kramer.."

We returned to the deck, a couple drinks in hand, and I basked in the ever-giving sun to continue my reading. Theroux was in Ceylan, mixing with whores and preparing for India.

Lunch consisted of grilled kielbasa and good, strong German beer. We ate our sausages and I heaped praise on Jeremy for his choice in location. The lake below us shimmered from the afternoon sun and I felt that I could stay there forever, in that little pocket of nowhere, north of Kingston.

We were then introduced to Mark Kramer (see inset photo). Mark was a veteran of those parts, having lived in the area with his parents since 1989. We were introduced to Mark, who, climbing the stairs which led to the deck, carried an armful of various ingredients - a plastic bottle of Canada Dry, a Tupperware container full of ice, a litre of Gibson's finest and a lowball glass - those which would combine to make his cocktail of choice: Rye and Ginger. This man had obviously once been a Boy Scout.

He made sure to introduce himself by his full name: "Hi, I'm Mark Kramer." Like he was some bigshot we all had heard about, but had never had the good fortune enough to meet.

Mark Kramer drank his whiskey like a champion, sucking on his upper lip every time he took a healthy gulp. The guy even brought his own glass - a tumbler (of course) with no apparent markings. He seemed intent on catching Jeremy up on all the neighbourhood gossip: those who were moving in, those who were moving out, those who had recently purchased land, the fishing - what was biting and what wasn't, yet primarily talked about his own retreat - what he had been working on during the spring and summer months and what was planned for winter. Kramer liked to talk, that much was evident - and by the palid look on Jeremy's face as Mark hammered on with the local dish, one could tell that he'd heard enough of it.

Mark and Jeremy were of the few select crowd who stayed in this area all year around - they enjoyed the isolation. "Summers are great, of course, but I really thrive on the winters when you don't see a single soul on the lake." Jeremy had said as much to me around the campfire the night before, as we passed the Wild Turkey back and forth. A man could do some serious thinking up there. Blow the cobwebs off the old typewriter and bang out a few dozen pages. I could only imagine the peacefulness of such times; weekly jaunts into town for the bare necessities, ice fishing, all no doubt coinciding with the out and out loneliness that would sure follow.

No comments: