Dan and I have been very fortunate in our 17 years of owning Clementz’s Northcountry Campground & Cabins to have made more than a few good “camping friends”. I have mentioned a small number of of them to you in my Yarns; Fred and Laura Fritz from downstate Michigan, Jim and Terry Parr from Canada, Bob and Carol Colwell from kind of all over and Art and Dorothy Kole to name a few.
Even though we only see these folks maybe once or twice a year (and they may stay for better than a week at a time), you get to know them a bit and care about them.
Art and Dorothy Kole is an older couple who stay here 2-3 times during the summer. Art is a fiddler so he and Dorothy always come up for the Lumberjack weekend festivities in July, sometimes in August and then for the Fiddler’s Jamboree in September. They’ve been doing this for years and each year, we worry if it is the last time we will see them. They both are healthy enough, but you just never know when someone gets to be that age.
Art and Dorothy usually have a HUGE, very productive garden and we are lucky enough that they usually bring us some home grown goodies in the fall. And many times, Art brings Dan canned pickles or canned jalapeño peppers. He always brings us a VERY LONG loaf of his homemade potato cinnamon raisin bread, which HE makes.
Art is upset this year with his garden, or I should say lack of. Most everyone is having garden issues this season due to the strange weather. So, instead of coming up today (Sunday) as expected, they arrived yesterday. When he came in, I naturally asked “How are you?” He said “Don’t ask. I’m not in a good mood.” And when Art says something like this, he usually means it. It was all about the garden and all the work that has gone into it and the darn weather.
I got Art registered and sent him off to his favorite campsite (#9 which is also the same spot that Fred and Laura reserve every year). I told him when he had time to please come back to the office because I wanted to talk with him about his September reservation.
Art drove back to the office a while later and while we were chatting, Dorothy came in. I assumed she had been waiting in the car, but she looked like she was out of breath and not herself. Art seemed surprised to see her and it was then that I realized she had WALKED ALL THE WAY FROM THEIR CAMPSITE AT THE BACK SIDE OF THE PARK to the office, so my heart leapt to my throat.
Dorothy doesn’t usually come in the office anymore. It is difficult for her to walk very far due to “tender” bones and other aches.
She was trying to explain something to Art and got tears in her eyes. I had no idea why she was tearing up but I got tears in MY eyes. Art took her hands and said “Slow down and tell me what is wrong.” Dorothy had such a sad look on her face and was doing everything she could to keep those tears from spilling over.
“I had been washing the sink and my wedding rings slipped off and went down the drain.” She was SO distressed and it broke my heart. I don’t think it was so much the fear of losing the rings as it was the heart ache of how many years she had worn them, what they meant to her and if she would get them back…in that order.
By now the tears WERE spilling down her face, while Art was trying to reassure her that the rings didn’t go far because of the trap in the drain. I reached out my hands to her and she put her hands in my hands and by then we BOTH had tracks of tears down our faces. Dan and I tried to comfort her and reassured her that if Art had any problems getting that drain apart or needed any tools, that Dan would be more than happy to help. She had calmed down a bit and was finally able to smile just a little.
Art once again assured her he would be able to get the rings and that when he did, she was to call us on their cell phone and let us know everything was OK. These two love birds walked out the lobby door and got into their car and headed for their campsite.
About 10 minutes later, Dorothy called and said Art had gotten her rings out of the drain.
This may seem like a simple, what’s the big deal story to you, but these two people have been married forever and it warms my heart SO much to see a couple still so much in love….and I love a happy ending.
For the Record Book
1 week ago