BOOT LAKE: THE CABIN
Rumor had it that the cabin had been built in the 1930s for a violinist in the Chicago symphony, but I don't know whether this was fact or a pleasant fiction. The pine ceiling was vaulted in the one main room and provided perfect acoustics for those summer nights when grandma would play the organ while I fished with grandpa in the post-dinner evening when the fish hit the best. People from other cottages might be on their screened-porches or out on the decks as we floated by along with the organ music, but we mostly stayed away from the shore.
Kissmoot's own screened porch was my favorite spot on earth until I finally found another. There were few sweeter treats than eating off of a tv table, all of us in a line across the expanse of the porch. The family had only the trees and the water to focus on. Those February evenings in the 5:30 pm dark bowed over a sodden golumpki while already thinking of school the next day seemed a lifetime away then. CLT's own screened-in porch is inspired partially by Boot Lake's design.
I'm surprised by how few pictures there are of the cabin. Only one of the relatively narrow "front" porch I loved so much. (The idea of the "front" and the "back of the cabin confused me when I was younger because it seemed to be the reverse of what I was used to. In the suburbs everything was in relation to the concrete arteries that took you to work and school. At the cabin, though, the back of the house was first seen when you came down the driveway. One day it finally made sense--of course the "front" of a lake house pointed to the water.) On those few Sunday mornings that we would drive into Bruce or Ladysmith for church, my grandfather would sit on the porch beforehand and say that this was his church, his place to find God. He was right, of course, and Emerson would have agreed with him.
There was a giant floor radiator in the middle of the only hallway in the cabin and I lived in fear of stepping on it when its sole eye burned blue and orange. When I was little, I stepped on it once when the heat was on and my foot looked like a waffle for days afterwards. That grating had to be circumvented when going anywhere in the cabin and even in the summertime when the metal was cool and unused, I still traversed in the narrow wood slats that ran around it. No wonder I spent so much time outside.
Along with my sister sometime in the late 70s or 80s, I tossed plastic fruit from the small attic window that looked down upon the living room. We stayed in the two small beds up there, the heat stifling in the summertime afternoons and the roof slanting claustrophobically close when you lay in the bed. That tiny attic had a lot of magic in it.
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