As I mentioned two blogs ago, our annual group of four fishermen to Lake of the Woods had expanded to seven. As a result, we needed a third boat before we motored off for our weeklong backcountry fishing trip.  Jack dropped Tom and me off at Paradise Cove, a small marina near the town of Sioux Narrows, to rent a basic 16-foot V-hull with a 20-horse motor.  

Tom preceded me into the marina’s small waterside shack by about thirty seconds. When I walked in, the woman behind the counter was asking, “How long do you need it?”

Tom said, “Five or six days.  Our plan is to be back Friday morning.”

“Do you know how to run an outboard?” The woman asked.

“Does it have a choke?” Tom asked back.

“Yeah,” the woman said, “you only have to use it when the engine is cold.  Otherwise it should start right up.  By the way, it’s only a two-stroke, so the gas/oil mixture is fifty to one.  It has a full tank. Either fill it before you return, or we can refill it here. If you don’t have any other questions, have a fun week. ”

Tom and I walked down to the beach, pushed the boat off the sand, and slowly motored out of the marina’s small harbor.  I asked Tom, “Did she ask you your name?”

“No,” Tom said.

“Did she take your address?” I asked.


“Did you give her any money?”

“She said we’d settle up later,” Tom said. 

I think that I have an honest face, and Tom even more so, but it has been a long time since a stranger has shown me such trust. It was a beautiful way to start a weeklong camping/fishing trip. The woman was in her late forties, early fifties, but I don’t know how long she’s been running the marina. Still she must have been there for a while, and I have to assume that she’s yet to be burned by a shady customer. How great would it be to think the best of people and then have that perspective regularly confirmed?

Steven Simpson