West Otter Lake

Copyright© 2013 – Nicholas Hall


West Otter Lake – Chapter Thirty –"Those who know God know it is quite a mistake to suppose there are only five senses." – (Coventry Patmore)

There is that interval, from the time snow ceases its downward descent upon the land, blanketing the blandness of earth with an almost virginal whiteness, when words cannot describe the ultimate beauty, the almost soul fulfilling ecstasy of wonder at the transformation of the natural surroundings, and the heart-wrenching, muscle-tiring, tedious task of ripping great paths and swaths through it to accommodate the mundane activities of mere, mortal man. Such would be the tasks set before us this new day.

Leandro, Craig, and Loren were busy in the parking lot moving snow with the tractor, pickup, and snow thrower attached to the garden tractor in order to allow us to move about and continue with our daily and now, additional, chores. Roy was in my office busy on the telephone and his hand-held doing whatever conservation officers do when snowed in somewhere, physically detached from their office, and unable to navigate freely about the wilderness except by snow machine, which Roy didn't have at his disposal at the moment. The generator was humming its sweet song outside, providing us with the energy, in the form of electricity, we needed in the Lodge. I was busy preparing breakfast for our crew of ten. I could hear boys chattering coming down the staircase.

"I told you it was `ginormous,'" giggled Terell on their journey down the steps.

"Yeah, but I didn't think it was that big!"

Clearly Peter had been introduced to Ollie's, or should I say Luis,' most precious possession and was more than a bit impressed! I gathered, from the conversation, the trio made an excursion through the bathroom to Ollie and Luis' room for the purpose of broadening Peter's education in all things Johnson or in Ollie's case, Thompson. The boys stopped talking when they came into the kitchen. Peter, secured to Treyvon's elbow, was escorted to a place at the table.

"Good morning, men! Did you sleep well?"

Three heads bobbed up and down and three grinning faces brightened the kitchen.

"It'll be pancakes this morning, so Treyvon and Terell, please set the table."

They were about to do so when Peter coughed softly and tilted his head toward the Twins. I said nothing as Terell offered Peter an elbow, leading him to the cupboard where the dishes and glasses were kept, raising Peter's hand so he could feel each stacked plate or glass, and pressing his hand down to the flatware drawer to locate forks, knives, and spoons.

"There'll be ten of us this morning, counting Peter and his grandfather, so set the table accordingly."

Treyvon began gathering up glasses for milk and juice and cups for coffee for the adults. Terell, counting out ten forks, knives, and spoons, placed them on a tray, and carried them to the table. Peter, following Terell's request, followed and stood at the table. He waited patiently while Terell counted out ten plates and returned to the table. He placed a plate on the table in front of each chair.

"Follow along, Peter, and put the flatware at each plate I put down. Treyvon will follow with glasses and cups."

I was mesmerized, perhaps beguiled, by the movements of the boys, which could've been choreographed but weren't, setting the table. The three of them worked in concert and, if I hadn't known better and absent Peter's dark glasses, it would've been difficult to determine who was sighted and who was not. In just one day and one night these three striplings were in close affinity to each other's spirits and thoughts. Peter could tell by the sound of their voice, their footsteps, the noises they made as they worked, where they were and somehow, knew what they wanted him to do with little instruction. As they worked, they chattered, as young boys do, enjoying each other's company.

"Done!" announced Terell and was about to say something else, when Peter popped his head up, smiled, and turned toward the kitchen door leading to the Great Room.

"Good morning, Grandpa!"

I looked and Roy was standing in the doorway with a big grin on his face! How did that little dickens know his grandfather was standing there? Roy lived and worked in the forests and lakes for so many years he could move as stealthily as the creatures he was sworn to protect. I never heard him come to the doorway, but I was busy at the stove so that might be understandable. That didn't beg the question how Peter knew.

"Okay, Peter; how did you know your Grandfather Wagoner was standing there?"

"I could smell his after-shave and, well- my grandpa's scent and his step. I could locate my grandpa in the dark;" and he giggled, "of course as far as I'm concerned, it's dark all the time anyway so I better be able to."

It made sense to me as I thought about it. I could remember the distinct scents of Grandma and Grandpa Johnson I'd come to know as I grew up. In fact, after all of these years, I'll open a cupboard or closet holding a piece of clothing or equipment, and their faint odor still lingering there will sometimes bring a momentary sadness and longing to my heart that cannot be filled by their presence, only in my memory and the knowledge they loved me dearly.

Roy walked over to his grandson, gave him a hug, and a kiss on the forehead. "Good morning, Peter; grandma sends her love. I told her we'd be home as soon as the roads are cleared enough."

Peter's face fell, just a little mind you, but he perked up when I announced, "After breakfast we have to clean cabin roofs. The roads won't be open until after lunch, I'm willing to bet." I opened the mike on my two-way radio and announced breakfast to the snow removal crew, just as Ollie and Luis joined us in the kitchen.

Ollie and Luis gathered shovels, snow rakes, and a short ladder from the shed as Peter, the Twins, and I finished clearing the table and dressed for the outdoors. Once outdoors, we wallowed through the knee deep snow to the cabins to begin cleaning off the roofs. I wondered if the boys would start with a slide off of the roof onto the snow below as they usually did when we undertook this task since they were now accompanied by Peter. I couldn't imagine how they'd be able to allow him to slide off of a roof into a snow pile when he couldn't see what was below or where he was landing. How wrong I was!

Ladder placed up against the eaves of the first cabin, extending beyond far enough to allow feet to purchase a firm place, Ollie and Luis scrambled up to the snow covered roof, followed by Terell, Peter, and Treyvon. Terell started up first, then Peter, and followed by Treyvon. Treyvon, just one step below Peter, extended his arms to the ladder rungs keeping Peter's body close to his, as they started up the ladder. Peter would reach up, feel Terell's foot move up, and step up another rung himself. After a couple of steps, the trio seemed well synchronized and quite adept at the process. On the roof, with Treyvon standing behind Peter, arms wrapped around his friend, said something, and Peter's dark glasses came off and found a home in an inner pocket.

"I'll go first," announced Ollie and down the roof he rocketed, whooping and hollering in glee as he landed into the deep snow on the ground below. Luis was next, followed by Terell. Treyvon and Peter sat down, Peter tucked snuggly between Treyvon's legs. Treyvon wrapped his arms around Peter.

Ollie, distinctly and clearly, allowing Peter to locate him, announced, "I'm here, Peter, in front and below; slide toward me."

Treyvon whispered something in Peter's ear, Peter leaned back as Treyvon wiggled his butt a little to get them started, and down they came, gaining speed as they neared the edge of the roof, flying off and down into the white cushion below. Snow flew, there was a tangle of boy arms and legs and from the snow pile came a cry,


Four boys stood grinning, ecstatic at their friend's delight, while the fifth boy, Peter, giggled, "Let's do it again!"

I think that's when I began breathing again, my fears of broken arms or legs or even worse somewhat alleviated. Roy, standing behind me, startled me I was so concentrated on the action before me.

"I think, Conner, all it takes sometimes is trust in and a little help from your friends to accomplish almost anything. I'm certain now Peter will do just fine here in Otter Lake."

Somehow, some way, we had the roofs done by lunch time, in spite of all of the whooping, shouting, and sliding. Lunch, consisting of Leandro's homemade pizza, was an all boy meal as they relived each roof and each pile up in the snow below. All good things must come to an end and after lunch Roy and Peter prepared to leave for home and a patiently waiting Grandmother Wagoner, anxious to see her grandson. The county had one lane open to Otter Lake so Roy and Peter loaded their overnight bags into the Roy's state pickup. They both thanked everyone for our hospitality, but Peter turned his head toward me and asked softly,

"Conner, can I come visit again?"

"Anytime Peter and you're welcome to stay as long as your grandfather and grandmother will allow it. We enjoyed you and I know Terell and Treyvon would be terribly disappointed if you didn't come to visit often."

Peter was enrolled in Otter Lake Middle School and between the special services department and Mr. Wilcox located a couple who's youngest son, now married and living down state, was blind from birth and successfully attended college. His wife was sighted, as well as his children, and the couple was more than pleased to be asked to assist Peter, as needed of course. They were fully involved in various groups around the state and quite cognizant of the most recent developments in educating and acclimating the non-sighted with the sighted world.

The Middle School Principal, a very understanding but firm principal when it came to behavior, was quick to recognize the closeness of Terell, Treyvon, and Peter so placed him in the majority of the same classes. The fact Peter was also a very bright student certainly helped influence his decision, I'm certain. The teachers in the Middle School, as were the majority of teachers in our school district, were extremely helpful and understanding.

I guess I never realized Roy and his wife lived on our bus route until the first day Peter rode it to school. When Terell and Treyvon boarded the bus, he heard them and shouted out for them to join him on the seat. They became seat mates after that. Peter's grandmother usually made certain he got on the bus in the morning and met it at the end of the drive after school, but during the day, he was on his own, with help from the Twins. His cane, "tapping, tapping," up and down the halls became as familiar as bells announcing class dismissals.

Mae and Cedric returned home the middle of February, tanned, relaxed, and ready for spring. It also meant that she resumed her retinue of piano lessons for Ollie, the Twins, and the area students she nurtured and instructed before she left. Peter, a regular visitor to the Resort by that time, soon became one of her students as well. Mae determined there was no reason why he shouldn't play, the lad was bright and had a sense of culture. She arranged for a "loaner" electric piano keyboard from Benson's House of Music for Peter to use to practice on at home. He took to music like a duck takes to water.

Spring was soon upon us and it was time for the "crazy season" to begin; that time before the Resort and Campground opened when we scurried about preparing for our summer season. The cabins and the campground had to be ready for occupancy by May 1, the weekend of the fishing opener and the official opening of our resort and camping season. In addition to all of the hub-bub of business preparation, we had college pre-registration, tuition and room and board payments to make for Ollie and Luis. Of course, it also involved a campus visit for orientation. It wasn't too bad since they were attending the same university that Loren and I attended. Still, it did take us away from the Resort for a weekend.

To say we were all busy, would be an understatement; perhaps not so since three middle school boys still found the time to end up in the Principal's Office. The week before the season opener, Eddie Winters was going to begin delivery of our outboard motors he'd readied for us, I received a phone call from Mr. Henderson requesting my presence in his office, the sooner the better. I no sooner hung up, told Leandro where I was going, and stepped out on the porch intending to get the pickup truck, when Roy pulled up in the parking lot and flipped open the passenger door.

"Hop in and save some gas!"

Roy and I walked into the Principal's Office and spotted Terell, Treyvon, and Peter seated on one side of the room and, in a chair by himself, sat the youngest and last, hopefully, member of the Barnes family – Lyle. Barney must have gotten his wife pregnant the night they married and kept her perpetually so. If they didn't meet the criteria of "fucking like mink" nobody did! Luis and Ollie had a bit of "dust-up" with one of the Barnes' male progeny and evidently Lyle was somehow involved with the intrepid trio seated across the room from him. While they sat with slight smirks on their faces, Lyle, on the other hand, exhibited an extremely sour and disgusted look in return.

Roy, looking at the Barnes boy, gave me a nudge! "Look closely at him, Conner. What do you see?"

Pants! Lyle was dressed only in gym shorts, tee-shirt and socks – no shoes! I turned my attention to our three and noticed they were fully clothed. This was going to more than an interesting conference I began to sense.

Mr. Henderson stepped out of his inner office, followed by Henry Barnes ("Mr. Fertility" himself), and instructed him to take his son home for clean clothes and a couple of days for him to "reflect on his misdeeds and inappropriate comments." Finished with the Barnes's, with a wave of his hand indicated for us to follow us back into his office. He hesitated for a moment at the door and pointed at the boys.

"You three might as well join us and get this over with!"

This didn't bode well, I thought! The boys were further motioned to occupy the three, hard wooden chairs in front of his desk while Roy and I became wall flowers, occupying as little space as is possible for parents with miscreant children try to do. I think it was his philosophy to not make those who are about to be subject to an inquisition too comfortable and perhaps hasten the process to the truth. The boys sat patiently, stoically, but continued to exhibit just a hint of a smile on their faces.

Mr. Henderson leaned back in his chair, flexed his fingers a couple of times before locking his hands behind his head.

"I don't care which one of you start, but Peter, your grandfather needs to know why he is here and, Terell and Treyvon, your brother does too, so please regale us with your tale of woe or whatever it is that placed you in this predicament!"

Peter cleared his throat, "Well, Mr. Henderson, I had to use the restroom, you know, to urinate, and Terell and Treyvon accompanied me to ensure I made it there okay. I stepped up to the urinal, fished out my penis to relieve myself. Treyvon was on my right and Terell was going to use the urinal on my left to make certain I didn't pee all over, and Lyle Barnes budged in between Treyvon and me. I found that quite rude and inconsiderate!" he finished indignantly.

"Lyle looked down at Peter's weanus," continued Treyvon, "and then over at Terell, smirked saying `Hey Peanut Dick, which one of these chocolate drops splits that yellow melon of yours with their black bananas or do both of them? Get it, faggot; a banana split! Har! Har!' I took those remarks as crude and intolerant of people of other color so I responded in like manner. A person can hardly allow that to pass unnoticed, can one, Mr. Henderson?"

Roy just rolled his eyes and I just shook my head. This was going to be one incredible load of bullshit and I forgot my shovel.

" I muttered, quite loudly, at least he doesn't have to shove a finger up his ass and shout snake in order to piss, like you do Pencil Dick! Lyle took offense and turned to confront me. Honest to God, Mr. Henderson, when he grabbed me I forgot I was pissing and continued to do so. Unfortunately, my urine drenched the front of his britches and shoes. He screamed a racial epitaph at me."

"It startled me," chimed in Peter. "I found those remarks totally inappropriate, Mr. Henderson and racial and bigoted in nature, so I turned to assist my friend. Unfortunately, I too failed to remember what I was doing and soaked the back of his shirt and pants with my meager offering. When you're not sighted, such as I am, it's sometimes difficult to know where the hose aims as it spews liquid putting out the fire."

It was Roy's turn to sigh and shake his head. Peter was an eloquent, smooth, tongued, young man and was using his vocabulary to his own advantage. Roy leaned over to me, saying softly, "He's just like his mother, too damned smart for his own good, but I love it!"

"When I heard Lyle shout `you slant-eyed son-of-a-bitch," acclaimed Terell, "and two teachers, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Yankosky stormed into the restroom to investigate the source of the disturbance, I quickly pulled Peter aside in order to shield him from any harm."

Mr. Henderson held up his hand to stop the conversation. "Which one of you shouted "pervert" and pointed at Lyle?"

"That would be me, Mr. Henderson," Terell acknowledged. "Honestly, sir, had I realized he was standing there with his tally-wacker hanging out, I would never have done so."

"I'll bet!" I muttered under my breath.

Lyle was howling like a scalded ape and smelling of piss when the two teachers escorted the four boys to the office. He was wet and miserable, but there was no way he was going to get near the other three, whether it was fear they would douse him again or do something worse, he just wanted nothing to do with them!

Peter, face again solemn, benevolent appearing, said sincerely, "We apologized to him and said we were sorry, but perhaps he failed to understand what we were saying. I don't think he's the brightest bulb on the porch, if you know what I mean. In the excitement and fear of being throttled, I guess we all made a serious mistake of not pinching off our peckers to stop the flow. I was frightened and I just forgot! Wouldn't you do the same, Mr. Henderson" he pleaded, "if you weren't certain if someone was going to wack off your willy or not?"

Oh my God! What a story! Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth and the Twins were just as bad. We could have fertilized the entire National Forest with the bullshit they were spreading!

Mr. Henderson sighed, a deep sigh of resignation, raised his hands again to stop the verbiage and said "Conner and Roy take these boys home and send them back in the morning."

Peter joined the Twins as a member of their team on opening day of the Resort; dressed in cargo shorts, uniform shirt, with his name tag in place, a radio attached to his belt, and a can of wasp spray tucked in a side pocket of the shorts. The three of them escorted guests to cabins and campsites, sold wood, picked up garbage using the garden tractor and two wheel trailer, and serviced the restrooms and showers. All was well with the world as far as they were concerned. Roy and his wife felt the same way, commenting it was good for Peter to work and be among others. They were more than pleased with the progress he'd made in school and socially while in the company of Terell and Treyvon and the rest of us at the Resort. They were good friends and close buds- what more could three boys ask for?

To be continued


Thank you for reading "West Otter Lake – Chapter Thirty ––"Those who know God know it is quite a mistake to suppose there are only five senses." – (Coventry Patmore)

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Nick Hall


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