Friday, July 13, 2007

The Pelee perspective

As I've noted many times before on this blog, Pelee Island is a place near and dear to my heart.

Why? Hard to explain, really. But what I have observed is that there seem to be two separate and distinct schools of thought on the place: There are those who think this little, backward, out-of-the-way little island is the most deadly boring place on earth. These are the people who step off the ferry, the MV Jiimaan, and begin counting the minutes until they can get back on and return to civilization (and are usually waiting at the dock a full hour or more before their scheduled sailing home).

Then there is the other group, the people who truly see the magic inherent in Canada's southernmost community. The people who know that if you just sit still for long enough and pay attention, you will see something, either created by man or by nature, that you will not soon forget.

So in a bit of a salute to the latter bunch, here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few Pelee moments from a hot weekend in early July.

I always wondered where Uncle Kevin lived. It appears to be at the corner of East Shore and Cooper, the former a barely driveable dirt trail and the latter constructed of something that almost passes as chipped stone. He wasn't home, so we were robbed of our chance to ask if there is an Auntie Kevin.

My wife Amy ponders her potential future home, an only partially dilapidated converted schoolhouse at the Island's south end. It's actually for sale, if you're interested. Check out under Pelee Island. But watch out for this scary turkey tree in the front yard:

At least I think they're turkeys. Could be vultures. What do I look like, an ornithologist?

As Amy said when we saw, this, "There's a fine example of reduce, reuse, recycle, Pelee style." Well maybe not so much reduce, but points for the other two.

Pelee is littered with buildings like this, where some brazen capitalist thought they had finally found the bulletproof way to turn the island into a viable resort community. But then, mainly owing to sometimes unpredictable ferry service and a tiny economic base of about eighty year-round residents, it all goes to pot. This looks like maybe a stillborn inn or some other type of recreation spot. Whatever it is, it's been sitting here slowly deteriorating on Pelee's south end for at least ten years. But if you look closely, you can see that the stickers are still on the windows.

And if you slip through the surprisingly unlocked front door and have a peek inside, it looks like the workers just put down their tools and stepped out for a smoke five minutes ago.

I guess it's not hard to tell which school of thought I belong to.

For more on Pelee Island, click here.


Sandie said...

Okay I"m a bit of a nerd when it comes to posting, I guess I had to register before I posted a comment (blonde ya know) I will try to retype what I just lost.


Imagine my surprise when I was surfing the net and ran into your blog while doing a little history research on the McCormick family. What's doubly amazing is I just seen your Mom and Jim on the weekend while at a mutual friends daughters wedding. Anway I was asking your Mom how you were doing and I understand it's wonderful. Congrats on the wedding. It's hard to believe that know it all kid (that being YOU...kidding of course) has grown up and started a life outside of Leamington. I'll have to ask Gary what the building is that is vacant. I have an idea but want to see if I'm right. Anyway it was nice to 'run' into you and know that we always ask for an update on you when we see your Mom.

Sandie and Gary (mostly Sandie, Gary is in Elliot Lake fishing while I slave away at work)

Chad Fraser said...

Hi Sandie,

Funny, I was wondering if and when any Pelee folk might find their way here through the Google. Thanks for the nice post.

I actually passed by your old cottage at Scudder when I was on the Island a couple weeks back. It still looks the same, of course. I can clearly remember sitting on the deck, many moons ago, and drinking Manhattans, I believe they were, in the searing hot sun. (When is it anything other than searing hot on Pelee?)

Anyway, hope you're doing well. Please pass a hello on to Gary for me when he is done terrorizing the fish of Elliot Lake.