Every year, I spend a few days at the hands-down best summer vacation spot Ontario has to offer. I can’t tell you where it is – the location is top secret, and we have to employ a complicated combination of passwords, tricky handshakes and numeric entry codes just to be admitted past the gates. But once we’re there, it’s glorious. We have access to everything a Canadian could want in a summer holiday: lake, food, beach, food, woods, food, activities, food.
All of that aside – oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the food – the place wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the people. Every year, we spend our holiday with friends both old and new. They make our trip that much more special.
It seems that like-minded people gather here, families who will gladly do without air conditioning and TV for a few days, who don’t mind a few blisters and bug bites in exchange for the privilege of birdwatching or walking a quiet forest trail, paddling a canoe at sunset or dipping in the lake after dark. The place is rustic in parts and even a tad musty in spots. And it’s my belief that this automatically screens out potential vacation-goers who might be more concerned about messing up their perfect pedicures than scouring the sand for the perfect snail shell.
Naturally, when you gather open-minded, nature-loving people in one spot, good deeds will abound. Whether it’s sharing sand toys at the beach, lending binoculars for the nature hike, or doling out drinkie-poos after dinner, fellow vacation-goers here are always generous with each other.
So, now, here’s my favourite good-deed story of the week. Within my first day or two there, I was at the medical station seeking a couple of Band-Aids. I overheard an exchange between a mom and the medic. She needed an antihistamine for her nine-year-old daughter, who typically reacts big-time to bug bites. But mom wanted to save the medicine for later in the day, in case it made the girl drowsy. Problem was, the medic could only offer her children’s liquid – not so portable – and an adult pill, which would need to be swallowed.
I happened to have a pack of children’s chewable antihistamines in my luggage. So I butted in (which I tend to be good at) and arranged to meet the mom in the dining room later with a few tablets.
Just before bedtime, a group of us was frolicking in the lake when the nine-year-old little girl approached me. “Thank you for the Benadryl,” she said politely. I asked after her mosquito bites, and she lifted her arm out of the water to show me the angry red patch. There was another on her leg, which I examined. I asked if the tablets had made her sleepy: Not so far, she said.
I didn’t think any more of it. But the next morning at breakfast, the mom stopped by my table to share a laugh. Seems that after our exchange, the little girl had reported back to her. “Mommy,” she said, “I saw the doctor, and I showed her my bug bites.”
It was just another reason to smile during an awesome vacation.
This is Dr. Lisa, signing off until next time…