By Mort Laitner
The deed arrived in a dark-brown manila envelope. In bold black Helvetica fonts the words: SPECIAL DELIVERY ran across its face. Affixed to the right-hand corner of the envelope were four stamps. Each stamp pictured a loon gliding across a tranquil lake. In the background of the stamps, I saw a log cabin surrounded by fir trees.
Those stamps brought back memories of the silvery loonie coins I had tendered into the rough-aged hands of owner of the border-town trading post. It was dawn when I rented the canoe. I had crawled out of my cabin in darkness to catch the silence of the morning.
The trading post emanated an odor of fish, coffee and cardboard boxes. Between sips of his freshly made bitter-sweet coffee the store owner asked, “Young man, you planning on fishing this morning? Because if you are you will need to buy a license.”
“I’m not fishing. I’m just trying to recall my days in the Boy Scouts, when I canoed in many a lake in this part of Canada.”
The mention of the scout brought a smile to his face. And then he said, “You’ll love the cries of the loons at this time of day. Those wails will cut across your heart”.
“Thanks for coffee and for the nature tips, I replied. “I’ll be back in around two hours.”
I paddled across the surface of the glass-like waters listening to the wails. The long solitary mournful sound of a diver calling out for its mate. Followed by the mate’s identical response as if they were two yodelers moaning for the return of a long-lost lovers.
I watched them swim, fly and dive for food. Unsuccessfully, I searched for their nests never guessing that I one day would live in their habitat.
But now in my Florida home, I touched the parchment paper and read some of the words on the deed:
For consideration for the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars the grantor hereby bargains, deeds and conveys the following real property to the Grantee forever, free and clear with Warranty Covenants: …
Then typed into this legal document was the foreign property address and legal description of my new home.
I now owned two acres adjacent to the lake, a log cabin and a canoe. I had bought my family a sense of security. I was now officially a neighbor to the loons.
I had faithfully followed the Scout motto: BE PREPARED.
The inauguration was less than a week away. My car was packed and in two days, I would be in my new home listening to the calls of the loons.
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