Canoeing to My Destiny
Copyright© 2012 by Lance Manne
I enjoyed an incredible night of sleep. I could move and spread out. I could snuggle up to Dawn. I could throw off my covers if I wanted. It was great.
I awoke before Dawn. I watched her closely as she slept. She was amazing. She was incredible. I could not get enough of her. I could not wait for the day when we would become man and wife.
I would compare her beauty to a tropical sunrise over the ocean. I would compare it to a mountain side covered in fresh spring flowers. I would compare it to a water fall in a lush green ravine. I knew that I would never grow weary of her presence. I had no doubt that she was the one for me.
Having both lost our spouses; we knew how quickly life could change. We knew that we had to grab it, live it, and appreciate it, while it was there in front of you. I fully intended to relish this relationship until my very last breath.
To that end, I had planned a very special breakfast for Dawn. My friend happened to be the owner of the resort. Before we had left home, I had sent him a list of the supplies I would need for the breakfast. I wanted to make Dawn the best blueberry pancakes she had ever tasted. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, I wanted to draw even closer to Dawn using my culinary skills.
For the pancakes, you needed to separate the egg white from the yokes. The really special ingredient was the Ricotta cheese. It made the pancakes light and moist. After years of searching, I had finally found the best pancake recipe in the world. The blueberry sauce was made by simmering the berries in a saucepan containing sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. It gave off an incredible aroma while cooking and it tasted even better on the pancakes.
I started by making the batter. Meanwhile, I put the sauce on the stove to simmer. I noticed that Dawn was stirring, so I went over to give her a kiss. I gently kissed her on the forehead. Her eyes fluttered. I move down to kiss her on the lips, but she turned away. She mumbled that she had not brushed her teeth yet. I said that I didn't care, but she refused to turn her head. I kissed her cheek and went back to preparing the breakfast.
Dawn asked what smelled so good. I told her that she would need to wait and see. While she freshened up, I poured the first scoop of batter onto the skillet. Soon the first pancake was done and I sampled it for texture and flavor. It was perfect. I continued to make more pancakes until I had used up all the batter.
Dawn came out of the bathroom and gave me a big hug and a very fresh kiss. After a wonderful greeting, I asked her to find her seat at the table. I placed a cup of juice before her along with several sausages. Then I brought over the pancakes and sauce. I sat down at the table and we said grace. I prepared the pancakes on Dawn's plate, spread some butter, and then poured blueberry sauce over the top. Then I sat back to watch her reaction.
I wasn't disappointed. Dawn took a bite, closed her eyes, and then looked up at me. "Who are you?" she exclaimed. "How in the world did you make these pancakes? They are the best I have ever tasted. What are you, some secret TV chef?" She stated that the sauce was also incredible. She commented that she could not believe the amazing flavor.
I knew that the pancakes were good. I had tried many different recipes until I had found that one on the internet. The picture on the screen looked wonderful, but the pancakes were even better than I expected. Up until that point, I had only made them for myself. To be able to share them with someone else was even better.
As we ate, we talked about the great night of sleep we had experienced. Dawn said it was so nice to wake up to a warm room and a real bathroom. She thanked me over and over.
When we were finished, we loaded up the jeep and went over to thank my friend at the office. I saw his eyebrows rise as he was introduced to Dawn. He gave me an approving wink, as he nodded toward Dawn. Dawn said she loved the cabin and hoped to make it a regular stop for rest and relaxation.
We bid farewell and continued to make our way south. I stopped at a Sate Park and pulled into the lot. We walked along a winding path that led down to Lake Superior. As we walked, we heard what sounded like the constant tinkling of glass. Dawn asked what it was. I replied that I did not know. We came out upon a rocky outcrop that looked out over the ice covered lake below.
We discovered that the tinkling noise was being created by a huge sheet of ice that was floating on the lake. The ice flow was moving slowly along the shore. As it moved, it was rubbing along the shoreline. While in motion, pieces of ice were being broken off. It was this action which was creating the tinkling sound. Dawn was amazed and so was I. It sounded like the tinkling of a hundred glass chimes. We spent a short time walking along the trail before heading back to the car and continuing our journey home.
As we drove, we began to talk about plans for the wedding. I told Dawn that my mother would be coming. My father had died several years earlier. He had been a fireman in the Air Force and a volunteer fireman in our community. Somewhere along the line he had developed lung problems. I was at his side the day that he died. During the time I had spent with him in those final days, we had discussed our various canoe trips together. Those fond memories had always brought a smile to my dad's face. Much of the time that we had shared together had just been spent in silence.
As we drove, Dawn began to open up about her childhood experiences. I knew that her father had died shortly after her birth. He had fallen into a grain silo and had become asphyxiated before they could pull him out. Her mother had been killed while crossing the street. She had just finished working her second job, which she had taken to support her child. Dawn had gone on to live with her grandmother until she had become too infirm and could no longer take care of her.
After that, she lived with numerous foster parents. In some of the homes, she was treated like a slave and made to work very hard. Some of the families were very kind. In those families, it seemed that just when she would become attached, she would be moved to another family. About the time she became a teen, she was finally adopted. The family that adopted her was very kind. They had to be very special to adopt a teenager. They had adopted her so that their daughter could have a sister. She and the daughter had grown to become very good friends. They would definitely be invited to the wedding.
Dawn explained to me that even though the family had been very kind, she had always wanted a family of her own. She put her hand on mine and said that she wanted to have that family with me. She said that before meeting me, she had begun to give up hope for that dream to come true. She said that she had felt like she was under some kind of curse.
I got a lump in my throat. I knew that I wanted to be that family for her. I knew that I too had that longing to have a family with this incredible woman. As she leaned over to give me a kiss, I knew that I would give my life to make her safe. But could I help her produce the children that she wanted to have?
Sandy and I had tried, but we had come up empty. We had been planning on seeing a doctor, just before the car accident. After that tragedy, having children had fallen completely off of my list. Now that Dawn was letting down some barriers into her past, I began to wonder if I could be the one to help fulfill her dreams.
That doubt quickly passed. I knew that I would try harder than any man I knew. I knew that if any person could do it, I would not be faulted for lack of effort. How many times had I wanted to consummate that final act of love between a man and his wife? Sometimes I regretted the fact that we had both agreed to wait.
We wanted that occasion to be a special and wonderful memory. We wanted to gaze lovingly at each other, with the realization that we had just entered into a pledge that would last for our lifetime. I held her hand in mine and told her that I wanted to make her the happiest woman in the world. I could feel her hand tremble as she whispered sweet words of love to me.
As we continued to travel, we talked about other friends and family that we would invite to the wedding. We didn't want to have a big wedding, but we did want to invite our closest acquaintances. We wanted only our dearest friends to witness our union. Our conversation helped pass the time and we were soon pulling up to Dawn's apartment. We kissed and she thanked me for an incredible experience. She asked me to call when I arrived home. It was very difficult to leave, but we both knew that we had to come down to earth and return to the real world.
As I drove away, I once again felt that pain in my gut. It was the knowledge of returning to my normal existence and the long periods away from Dawn. I could not wait much longer for our union to become complete. I decided I was going to start counting the days until our wedding.
It didn't take long to get back into our work-a-day rut. Dawn went to school and work and I went back to my cabinetry work. I really enjoyed my craft and the satisfaction that it brought. I enjoyed working with my hands, creating new designs, and solving problems. I felt great pride when I drove by a house that I had labored on. It was rewarding to think that I was responsible for the cabinetry and woodwork in that structure.
The next weekend, Dawn and I decided to take a drive in the country. There had been a fresh snowfall which resulted in trees that were heavy with snow. The sky was a brilliant blue with a sprinkling of tiny puffy clouds. As we drove down one country road, the biggest tom turkey I had ever seen came strutting out of the woods. He displayed the biggest waddle a turkey could possibly have.
As we continued our drive, Dawn yelled for me to stop. She pointed to a large red tailed hawk that was sitting in a nearby tree. As we watched, the hawk flew high into the sky. Suddenly, it began to dive. There was a flurry of feathers as the hawk snatched a pigeon right out of the sky. The hawk then returned to the tree where it began to feast upon its prey.
Dawn asked if I would ever think about buying a house in the country. She said it would be so much fun to experience things, like we had just seen, on a daily basis. I told her that I had been thinking along the same lines. I commented that it might be a good idea to buy a home together that we could call our own. I said it should be one that we had both agreed upon and where we could make our own memories together. I told her that I had already contacted a few realtors about the possibility of selling of my house. She squeezed my hand and said it sounded like a great idea.
Next we headed up to a small town through which a meandering creek ran. We parked the car and then walked hand in hand along a pathway that led down to the river. There we found open water where the creek connected with the river. It was a beautiful spot and we sat for awhile and enjoyed the beauty of the day.