The mysterious case of turkeys on Kennisis Lake
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | January 16, 2014
It was a case of mistaken identity, multiple mistaken identities in fact, and all on the annual ice fishing trip with the barber and chums.
Now many of you will instantly jump to the conclusion that the liquor got the best of us. It has to be said that there was some of that involved and that it did fuel the storytelling of one historic intentional mistaken identity, but I’ll get back to that.
The first and foremost identity crisis that befell the camp did quite literally fall from the sky. Rain. Torrential rain. Not big fat flakes of snow; the sort of stuff that we’re meant to see falling from the heavens in midwinter. Not even ice pellets, just lots and lots of incredibly wet rain. More rain than on a miserable day in winter in England. And it fell, as I’m sure you know, for hours last weekend. Twas as if someone had fooled winter into thinking that it was time to give up the ghost and let spring have a go. Pouring rain not more than a week after freezing temperatures that had brass monkeys running for their long johns
And what did the rain and accompanying balmy temperatures do, apart from turn the lake we were fishing on into a slushy quagmire? It played tricks on the fish, for crying out loud. The fish that we were meant to be catching thought hey ho, time to go deep, and the fish that were meant to be dormant at this time of year, the bass, got confused and convinced themselves that they were trout. Up they came, snapping at our lures, bothering our minnows; making grown men cry as yet another biting trout turned out to be a spiny green critter
How many times did I hear: “Fish on! Yeh, I think it’s a speck,” only for the sentence to be followed by a groan as the thump thump on the line was mistakenly identified and up came a large mouth bass
That was what set us to drinking. The day had been a washout. Wet and weary we trudged back to camp and divested ourselves of sodden boots and coats. Miserable and moist, 14 fellows slowly came around from their poor fishing trip while sitting around a log stove.
As the rum warmed our cockles and the steam rose from damp clothes, the mood began to lighten and the stories began to be told. There were many, quite a few of which I had heard before, but still a few new ones, borrowed from the vast library of funny tales that is stored in the heads of the barber and his sidekick Grumpy (that’s what it says on his personal rum tankard).
One such tale was of tomfoolery from many years back when a hunter known for sneaking from his watch to get a shot was tricked by the lyrical mastery of a friend who could mimic the baying of the hounds.
As the barber told the tale he did a pretty good job himself, of ‘bouwwoowowing’ and ‘wowowwwwing’, the call of the dogs echoing across the cabin.
“Oh, he climbed over hills and through the thickest bush you’ve ever seen,” laughed the barber, “as old Rex rang out those voices. He could sing like any dog in camp and we had our eager friend chasing imaginary hounds and deer all over the place.”
The room laughed long and hard at the tale of the mistaken hearing, and at the barber as he took another sip of his rum and ‘bowwwoowwowed’ to his heart’s content. The stories went on long into the night and so did the sipping, and perhaps that explains the case of mistaken identity that happened the next morning: a case that will take its place in the Barber’s library, and a story that will be retold many times in years to come.
Driving along on a grey and windy morning, eyes on the road watching for glare ice, one of our fishing party, who shall remain nameless, did a double take as he caught sight of a flock of turkeys out on the ice of Kennisis Lake. Not hesitating to point them out to his fishing buddies, all of whom are avid turkey hunters, he soon wished that he’d taken a moment to verify his sighting.
When the Barber and I got back to camp we told how we had seen a couple of turkeys scratching at the roadside.
“Oh hoho, ask John how many he saw,” came the reply with a chuckle.
In he came, already anticipating the onslaught. Head almost in hands he said: “Well they did look like turkeys, from a distance,” before giving into the relentless light hearted jibes and admitting that he’d mistakenly identified a ‘flock’ of wooden stumps as our tastiest of thanksgiving birds.
So you see there are cases of mistaken identity and then there’s making a real turkey of yourself!
But it’s OK, I didn’t mention his name, did I?
WILL JONES -The Outsider