Sometimes, people rise out of your past and surprise you in the most wonderful ways. That happened to me recently.
Growing up going to the Grand Cascapedia with my dad, we used to stop in to see Warren Gilker, a blacksmith and camp manager, among many things, whose shop was on the main road through town. His shop was something out of another age and the pliers, whittled by hand out of a single piece of wood, were awe-inspiring to me as a kid. With time, my favorite pieces of his came to be his weathervanes: sometimes painted, sometimes simply black metal, they adorn some of the camps on the river, including Middle Camp where I was fortunate enough to fish for more than twenty years. My father has one on the barn at his house, but they are rare, and rarely come up for sale.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I arrived home from our honeymoon to find a box the size of a large flat screen TV on our front step. It was a mystery: we hadn’t registered for anything that large. As I began to open it, and It became clear to me what it was, I became more and more excited. When I held it up, my wife said, “I’ve never seen you so excited opening a present before.” She was right; this was an incredible surprise.
It was given to me by Lynn Scholz, an old friend of my dad’s with whom I fished many times as a kid, and with whom I have many fond memories, but someone I hadn’t seen in years. The gift is so meaningful as it brings back so many memories: of fishing with her, of my dad, of Warren, and of the Cascapedia, a river I love.
This weekend, I some time with my good friend and neighbor Rob Robillard, the carpenter and dynamo behind A Concord Carpenter, installing the weathervane. It was terribly hot, but we persevered and got it installed on our garage, where it now stands tall. I couldn’t be happier.