One lunch hour Mr. East sauntered into the staff dining room and was met by the customary dead silence.  Everyone stickhandled with their food and ensured that they dare not look up.  Was someone getting fired?  No, he was looking for a driver.  “Does anyone here have a driver’s licence?” he barked.  One solitary hand was raised, mine.  Although I am sure half the staff members in the room had a license only one admitted to it.  “I do” I choked.  “Come with me” was the command and I abandoned what was left of my mystery meat lunch and scurried on behind him.  We ended up at the front of the resort walking past the almost totally cigarette butt free entranceway to his personal parking spot.  There was parked the biggest car I had ever seen.  It looked like the Queen Mary.  It was a Ford station wagon LTD woody thing with about 12 rows of seats in it including the last row facing backwards. He climbed into the driver’s seat – praise be to God – and I scrambled into the passenger seat.  For the first 10 minutes we rode in silence.  No one ever spoke to Mr. East unless spoken to.  At last he broke the ice.  “We’re going to the airport where you will drop me off and then drive the car back to the resort.”  He had a plane!  I had obtained my pilot’s licence in the past year so worked up the courage to mention that to him.  He seemed to be mildly impressed but said nothing.  We rode on in silence again and finally arrived at the Muskoka Airport where he left me alone with the Queen Mary.

I got behind the wheel and in doing so realized quickly how much out of my depth I really was.  Yes I had a driver’s license, but I had had it for a whole 2 weeks. I passed my test in an Austin American (toot as my mother affectionately called it) which was like a compact Smart car.   I needed a license for prom night at Thorold Fonthill High School where I had a date and needed a way to get her alone.  (Having your parents drive you anywhere wasn’t cool back then either.)  My date, Bev, was hot and unfortunately for me, she won ‘Belle of the Ball’ that evening so everyone including teachers had to dance with her so I was left standing off to the side in my ill-fitting suit smelling like too much Aqua Velva and it wasn’t until quite late that we drove up to Lookout Point for a little making out.

I wheeled the ‘Queen Mary’ out of the airport and onto Highway 11 back to the resort.  I turned the radio on, lowered the power windows and cruised.  Little did I know that by agreeing to drive Mr. East to the airport that I would have a new part-time job.