The Peach Can

trees & waterIn the 1960’s I lived in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior. My new neighbor, Howie, wanted me to take him fishing in one of the local lakes, early one spring.

On a Saturday morning we drove about fifty  miles to a lake who’s name I no longer remember. We parked our vehicle by the beach and then carried our canoe and equipment down to the shore. We had a Coleman stove so we could cook a fresh walleye lunch on shore.

The lake was three or four miles long and about a half mile wide. It was a long narrow lake. We paddled out into the middle of the lake and ended up about a mile from one end.  As we settled in to fish we noticed the weather was changing and the wind was dying down.

The fishing was good and we had two or three walleye on the stringer. I had just moved into the neighborhood where Howie lived so we sat and talked and got to know each other better. We enjoyed a few beers we had on hand.

About noon we found that fog had moved in and we no longer could see any shoreline. It continued to get worse until we could hardly see each other in the canoe.  I decided that there was no point going to shore for lunch as we could end up paddling the wrong way and end up three or four miles way down the lake. Hughie was not an experienced canoeist and he was a little nervous of the changing weather.

We were hungry and had some hot dogs and buns along so I set up the Coleman stove in the bottom the canoe in front of me and cooked the hot dogs.  Hughie was sitting in the front of the canoe but had managed to turn around earlier so we sat facing each other.

We continue fishing while eating a couple of hot dogs. We also had a medium sized can of peaches. It seems the can opener was not in the packsack so Hughie volunteered to open the can with his pocket knife.

The procedure of opening the can became quite involved and Hughie had a great deal of difficulty.  He stabbed and pried the lid off until he was able to bend the lid half open and then extracted the peaches out onto aluminum camping dishes for us to eat from. Once all the eating and clean up was done we continued fishing and drinking a few more of the beers we had brought along.

The fog continued to hang densely around us but there was no wind so we continued to fish and enjoy our outing.  We could not see or hear anything and felt like we sat in a bubble.

The tranquil scene was disturbed when Howie stated that he needed to take a pee but was afraid to stand up in the canoe.  I refused to try and paddle to shore and suggested he pee in the peach can which lay in the bottom of the canoe.

With poor hand eye coordination Howie managed to get his fly open, pried back the lid of the can, and carefully started peeing. When the can was almost full, his thumb slipped off the lid of the can and the jagged lid snapped back and partly closed on his delicate parts.

He immediately started yelling for help.  Keeping in mind that the can was almost full, wet, and vey sharp and jagged along the edges, he started to panic and rocked the canoe.

He continue screaming and calling me to help or do something.  I was at the other end of the canoe and all our equipment was piled between us. I got him to calm down and he slowly bent the can lid back so he could remove his appendage.  He then dumped the contents over the side and sank back into the canoe with a huge sigh of relief.

It was at this point I started laughing and the longer I laughed the madder Hughie got. Fortunately it was not long after the wind came up and the fog blew off the lake.  We were then able to get back to the beach, load up and head for home.

On the drive home Hugh was still embarrassed and mortified by the experience and not talking to me.  Finally he asked me, “Why did you continue to laugh, even after I removed the peach can?”

I replied, “Because I did not think you were going to get the can removed and I had a mental picture of you having to walk across the beach in front of all those people with the can hanging in front.”

After a long pause Hughie said quietly, “Yea, that would have been embarrassing but funny.”

He never went fishing with me again for some reason.