Time To Go


Wind North North West. Evening chill spikes the air. Sun setting close to the end of it’s south’rd lap as late clouds take on a brilliant orange red, seldom seen until late summer/early fall. Tonight’s sky a fall-hued turquoise.

Night before last, mini-cyclone blew through. High tension in camp for 10-15 minutes. Worried it might our blow dock back to the water.

Warm summer and fall. Latest ever for my last swim of season. Twenty strokes out. fifteen back. Water level so low had to wade last five. Sun barely enough to kill chill.

Day included last trip to the dump. Inevitable collection of junk and summer’s accumulation piled into the old trailer. He and I have seen many miles together. He’s tired like I am tonight. Keep wondering when our respective “1940’s” vintage bodies will give out: his axle and tires, my legs and hips. One day both will declare “enough...enough”

AJ has worked the fridge to last remnants: milk, half stick of butter, two slices stale bread. Annual savings of remnant condiments packed in cooler to winter in Florida fridge.

Flock of eleven Mergansers, mach 10, comes screaming through fading light to settle in their annual rocked and driftwooded cove for overnight re-charge. A:M will find them lined up on beached, trees. Still on “time out” before next scheduled stop in similar setting.

Two jet streams from Europe slice the still red clouds. Sky darkens as waves of clouds, black, rimmed by thin border of blue slip across to take their place. Wind, still a steady 10-15 knots swings slowly to west’rd. One lone cloud appears. Black. Thin as a distant mountain range, edges a slight curl of reddish blue. Furrows of washed pink, hues of blue begin to plow the sky.

I take the half dozen or so steps to lake’s edge. There’s activity in the water. Something(s) dark. Moving like a small stream. Minnows. Baby alewives. Steady flow. Foot wide, Perhaps 4-6 inches deep. I check an hour later, still flowing north. Lake food supply should be ample for years to come.

Maine potato harvest 1940.

Perhaps 50 yards offshore, large fish breaks surface. Soon followed by another. Most likely bass. Ones I tried to entice with succulent grubs, minnow Rapalas in season. Grandaughter Logan stood the camp proud, though. Hers is on the “trophy wall”, even if her old Grump missed the scoreboard. There’ll be next year. Perhaps along with more spare time.

Across the lake, dark, green-black pines, and spruce become silouetted against a turquoise wash. Gathering dark continues to gather as AJ goes out for just one more photo-op to our extensive...ongoing...collection of sunsets.

Tomorrow with rental car packed with necessities, we’ll strike a westerly course for Canada. Our only chance this summer to see the grands. We’ll leave our “Magic Lake” for another year...my 70th here..and drift on down where we can wear shorts, tee shirts, sit on a beach and read. Perhaps swim in salt water for more than five minutes at a time and remember occasionally this wondrous evening on the Million Dollar Island.

• R E C I P E •

Dinner tonight was “Potato Scallop.” Your mother probably called it “Scalloped Potatoes.” In “the county” it’s “Potato scallop,” and for some reason, apparently the abundant rainfall, potatoes have been running weird this fall. Lots of water and huge. Hard to tell a Russet from a Yukon Gold. Skins quite tough and flesh just doesn’t have the flavor or consistency we know and enjoy. I was lucky on this dish, came out quite edible.

I used about three large potatoes, sliced about a 1/4" thick, put them in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons cooking oil, liberal pinch or two of white pepper and a few scrunches of salt. Slices want to be just coated, not dripping. (For a variation use regular olive oil) Slice a large Vidalia or sweet onion and briefly sauté the 1/8" slices in butter and mix in a few chopped slices of ham. Alternate the potatoes and onion/ham in a two inch high casserole dish and pour about a can of evaporated milk over. I did this scallop at about 325° for a bit over 40 min. until fork tender. Enjoy...If you’d like to share a variation or favorite recipe, do send me an e-mail at Fishermen’s Voice.