This is of course true for everyone.
For me, good days at work are the ones where I drive back to the office thinking how it’s remarkable that I’m even getting paid for doing whatever it is I just did.
Often, these occasions have included boat rides.
In this case, it was spending part of an afternoon last week, sitting on a deck beside Gull Lake, talking to Ruth Max about her family. Ruth is a Stinson and a feature on her family – one of the pioneering families of Minden – appears in this week’s edition.
I’d spent a similar afternoon with her brother, Bob Stinson, at his home on Grass Lake about a week or so before.
Sure, it didn’t hurt that both these days were nice ones to sit beside a lake, but what was so enjoyable about these occasions was the company and the story.
The Stinson story is a remarkable one, the course of a family’s life forever changed because of the discovery of a waterfall.
Thomas Stinson, who was Bob and Ruth’s great grandfather, first came to Haliburton County on a prospecting trip with a friend in 1871. After passing through Minden, the pair continued to follow the path of the Gull River until they came upon a waterfall, which they decided would be a good place to build a sawmill.
That site is where Minden Lake and the Orillia Power Corporation dam are located today.
These sorts of stories are incredible to me. They never get old.
Imagine a reality in which you are trekking through the wilderness – and this is real, unsettled, untouched wilderness – with your buddy, come across a waterfall and go, “Here. This is it. We’re going to build a sawmill, right here.”
That’s followed by the painstaking process of clearing the land and actually building the buildings. This is Haliburton County in the 1870s. Imagine the bugs. The winters. The wolves.
Also fascinating were Bob and Ruth’s recollections of the Gull Lake of the 1930s and ‘40s, a not-so-distant past that seems worlds away. A time before motorboats filled the lakes of Haliburton County. A time when little lakeside shops stored ice cream on blocks of ice. A time when blueberries grew plentifully all over the place and water was drunk straight from springs without the provincial government getting involved.
I want to thank Bob and Ruth for sharing their memories with me and also the story of their family.
It’s a truly remarkable one.