I'm not really sure why I've held onto it all this time; it's been nearly twenty years since I last made the trip. I guess the map represented for me a carefree time in our lives when get-togethers could be arranged on a whim, lasting memories forged around an island campfire, and friendships strengthened over a July long weekend. Since then, I think we've all tried with limited success to duplicate or at least simulate those spontaneous times of our youth.
|Christie Lake, August '90|
Over time, I've had numerous opportunities to part with the map, but anytime I had reason to look at it, the memories would come flooding back like an old song, so tucked away it remained.
Kari taught me to water-ski in the cool waters of Christie Lake one Friday back in 1990. While I've likely water-skied less than a half-dozen times since then and remember little from that day, I do remember Kari's lesson. First, she showed me an example of what to do and what not to do. Next came the common pitfalls for beginners and finally some safety tips. She made it look simple and while I was certainly not as eloquent as her, I was up and out of the water, skiing.
I thought about the map last week when I received an email from an old friend titled simply, "Kari Cooper (née McAlpine)". I despair at the fact that I'm at the point in life where when an old friend whom you haven't heard from in a long while emails you about another old friend, the news is seldom good.
And so it was when I opened the email that I learned of Kari's passing.
I'm sorry that I lost touch with Kari over the years. Life has a funny way of interrupting our best intentions. But I bet she lived her life the way we all aspire to--by the simple eloquence of her example.
May she rest in peace.
In my head I keep a list called, "Top 5 places I'd rather be than here". I've read that others have similar lists. While mine has changed with the times, Kari's cottage has always been on there and I'll wager that it always will.