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Fun Times – Sherwood Forest Camp (Part One)

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  During our time in Haliburton and the Matabanick Inn , my parents decided to send me to camp. A few years before that they had sent my brother, Chuck, to Camp Calumet . I thought that I would be sent to the same camp, that’s not where my parents sent me. Instead, they opted to send me to Sherwood Forest Camp . I guess they thought it was more suited to my personality, plus, it was only a short distance from the Inn. At first, I really didn’t want to go, I would miss my friend Donny, and all the fun at the “ Mat ”. However, once I got settled in, I loved it there! Sherwood Forest Camp had a “ native ” theme. I think that that was all the rage back then. Campers were taught about nature and how to live with it. I don’t think that the theme would be appropriate now, but, as I said, it seemed okay back then. There were lots of activities around this theme, swimming, archery, hiking and canoe trips. The canoe trip that I went on was for 2 days. We canoed north, across Halls Lake , u

Fun Times – Dew Worms

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Fishing was a wonderful and popular activity at the “Mat”. As I mentioned, my dad loved to fish for Lake Trout. I’m not sure what kind of bait he used, but I think it was a spinning lure. However, most of the guests used live bait, Dew Worms. So much so that there was a constant need for “fresh bait – Dew Worms. Bring on two enterprising young entrepreneurs, Donny and me! With this “ongoing” need, Donny and I hatched a plan to fulfil the needs of these starving fishermen (people?). We decided to capture new Dew Worms ourselves and then sell them. A box of Dew Worms would net us about ten cents. We were going to be “rich” bait entrepreneurs. On evenings, when the ground was wet (dewy), we would find a good Dew Worm catching spot. We would then get on our knees, flashlights in hand, and start searching for the allusive worms. Frankly, they didn’t want to be caught, but we persevered the catch enough to fill our “small” buckets, a “good nights” work! With that task completed, we would the

Fun Times – The Boathouse

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The Matabanick Inn had a great old boathouse. It was quite large and had one room that contained a “ Ping Pong ” table. Quite often guests of the Inn would gather to play the game, traditionally singles and doubles. I liked to join in and play. These games were a lot of fun, but not the most fun! The “ best ” alternative was “ Round-Robin Ping Pong ” 8 or 10 players would gather around the table. Two teams would be formed. The game would start with the first team player serving the ball. The second team player at the opposite end would then return the ball. The person to the left would then try to return the ball. If the player was successful, the next player would try to return that ball. This would keep happening until one of the teams couldn’t return the ball. A point would be awarded to the winning team. The team that reached 21 points would be the winner. Needless to say, bedlam filled the room! Just imagine 8 to 10 people running around the room, yelling, swearing ( a little ),

The Lake – Boating

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Little Boshkung Lake was where I fell in love with boating. It started off with a 5-horse powered outboard engine and gradually went up to 10 hp motor. Back then you could operate an outboard motor boat at a very early age. No licence was required. I think I was about 7 when I first started driving a boat on my own. I had the freedom of motoring along in the boat whenever wanted to. Fortunately, my parents trusted e not to do anything foolish. I respected both the boat and the water and managed to stay out of trouble. The freedom I felt is hard to explain. I would just sit in the boat, drive slowly around the lake (it was a very small lake), go wherever I wanted to (serendipity was my aim), explore all the “nooks and crannies” and sing at the top of my lungs! What summers I used to have! Now, whenever I need to relax, I exchange to boat for my car, and drive on a lonely country road and enjoy wherever the car takes me. To my everlasting gratitude, Judi loves to “relax” with me. A

The Lake - Waterskiing

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  Little Boshkung Lake was where I almost learned how to waterski! I say almost because I got up once or twice, but managed to fall within a second or two. Other members of my family, and many other Inn guests, managed to get up to get up on their skis and, more importantly, to stay up! There was one exception, my father. Back then we were using very low speed motor boats ( maybe a 5 or 10 horsepower outboard motor ). Needless to say, getting up on the skis was difficult when starting from the water. So, we improvised by sitting on the front end of a canoe and then when the speed was sufficient to stand up, we would “ gently ” slip off of the front end. This worked beautifully for most of the skiers. However, there were a couple of exception, my father and me! My father tried several times to “ get up ”. He would “get up’ but immediately fall. I think the last time he tried was the “final straw”. This time he sat on the front of the canoe with his skis gently skimming across the water

The Lake - Swimming

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  The Matabanick Inn is located on Little Boshkung Lake . This is where my second swimming trauma took place. The first, you might recall, took place in Southampton when my two older siblings ( as rumoured ) tried to push me off the Southampton peer in my carriage. Fortunately ( as rumoured ), a kind older lady prevented this from happening ( as rumoured )! This time they weren’t involved, good for them! I was about 4 or 5 when this almost tragedy took place. I was playing a shallow pool of water near my parents. Some how, I slipped under the water and was almost drowning. One of my parents’ friends caught site of my predicament and ran to the water and pulled me to safety. After that “ near death ” ( exaggeration ) experience, I was quickly given swimming lesson, and was watched more closely. Over the years at the “ Mat ”, I became a very good swimmer. Swimming was a very important part of the summer activities, so becoming a good swimmer was paramount. Little Boshkung Lake

The Archers

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Part of the joy of spending summers at the Matabanick Inn were the Archers . They were an amazing family and really catered to their guests. I think that was one of the reasons our family vacationed there, for so many years. Fortunately for me, they had a son my age, Donny. Donny and I became instant friends and we spent many happy hours having fun! One of the activities I remember most were card games. Our favourite was a game called “Tonk”. On rainy days, we would gather in one of Inn’s common areas to play. Many of the times we played, it would include Donny’s two cousins. One of his cousins was a cute girl who I fell in “puppy” love with! Those games made the rainy days more memorable. There was, of course, many more adventures, but the rainy day “ Tonk ” captured a “ young ” boy’s heart! ( How do you play Tonk? “ Tonk is a  matching   card game , which combines features of knock  rummy  and  conquian . Tonk is a relatively fast-paced game that can be played by 2-4 players. It c