Hungry Jack Lodge- Fire and Ice
Two polar opposites to describe the same situation at the same time. It seems difficult to believe a fire could be raging while icicles were forming. A body sweating but a beard or fingers freezing. That was the case at Hungry Jack Lodge on Wednesday, March 26th.
The temperature was cold and the fire was hot. There were flames burning through snow. It just didn’t seem real.
How could it be. I had put the belief in my brain that there couldn’t be a fire in the winter, yet I heard it with my own ears. As I rounded the corner and saw the smoke over Hungry Jack Lake I still couldn’t trust my own eyes. It just couldn’t be true. Not another fire on the Gunflint Trail.
Maybe it is a mock training for the GTVFD? It’s good practice to cut holes in the ice and pump water on a burning structure in a controlled environment. Yep, that’s what it must be. Except for Mike is in charge of training and I didn’t know about it and Baker’s were in town and leaving, they wouldn’t miss it. It must be real. Let me squeeze my eyes real tight and see if it’s still there when I open them.
I shout an obscenity as I drive closer. "What’s wrong Mom?" Abby is my passenger in the vehicle and I reply, "It’s on fire Abby." The dumb look I often gave my parents as a teenager crossed my daughter’s face as she said, "Mom, you knew that, that’s why we’re going there." "I know Abby, I was just hoping and praying it was all a mistake." "Can you smell that Abby? It’s smoke, see that? It’s on fire." She shakes her head and continues reading her book.
She sits in the car patiently reading her book for over an hour out of view of the fire before I finally go to check on her. She knows to stay away, she knows who to tell if she needs something and she isn’t interested in the fire. I return and she asks, "Did you get it put out?" I take her by the hand, tell her to stay by me and come look. She watched the action for a few minutes and then returned to the car and her book. It was as if the fire was a normal every day occurence, no big deal Mom.
Abby was sorry Hungry Jack Lodge was on fire, she enjoyed her time there last month, was worried about the people who lived there and wanted to help take care of the girl’s puppy who lived there too. But, if she couldn’t play with the puppy she may as well just read her book.
I returned to the car after another hour or so and told her we were leaving to get Josh from the school bus. "Is it out Mom?" "No honey, it isn’t yet, Dad is staying." Back to the book she went.
When we picked Josh up she said, "Josh, you know that place we played pool at with Wyatt and Jaret during the fire department meeting? It burned down today. I saw it." "Oh. Mom can I play on your computer when we get home?" "HELLLOOO CHILDREN, ANYBODY HOME?"
I couldn’t believe how casual this conversation sounded. I don’t ever remember seeing a fire as a kid. How can they not be in shock and disbelief? Who are these kids and why are they calling me Mom?
I was raging with anger and they were cool as cucumbers. There was snow on the roof and flames in the windows. Two polar opposites. Fire and ice at Hungry Jack Lodge.