I was rudely awakened from a beautiful sleep by a banging on my door.  Henry?  (He used to drag me out of bed at various times of the night to do something silly.)  No, it was Brien East and he asked me to get dressed in something good and meet him at the main lodge.  I scrambled into my best clothes – remember I used to be a gardener so wasn’t expected to look sartorially elegant at any time – and headed across the compound to the main lodge.  Now this resort was rather singular.  Its main features, other than its location perched on top of Canadian Shield overlooking Georgian Bay and Killarney Mountain, was it’s carousel bar with a 360 degree view of the tundra and its covered walkways leading to the individual cabins.  It was a rich man’s fishing lodge.  Rather than living in a camp as most fishermen would, at the end of the day, the fisherman could have a sauna, a swim, a dinner in a formal dining room, a few drinks in the bar then retire to a cabin with clean sheets and a private bathroom.  It was a far cry from your standard ‘fish camp’.  The majority of guests were American and they loved ‘roughing it’ at Killarney Mountain Lodge.

I arrived at the front desk and was met by Brien who asked: “Can you tend bar?”  Phew, of course.  I got behind the bar and looked around at the multitudes.  It seemed that every guest was in or at the bar that evening – (Where else were they going to be?)- and it seemed that none had been served.  I grabbed a pad and paper and scrambled to the first table.  I can remember that first order as if it I had taken it yesterday.  “Right, that’s a Rob Roy, a Rusty Nail and Bourbon on the rocks.”  I returned to my bar station and looked at the mountains of bottles behind me.  Rob freakin’ Roy?  A rather gentle looking man seated across from me on a bar stool coached me through the next four hours and for that I will be forever indebted to him.  I had shakers and glasses and ice and lemon wedges and stir stix and napkins and coasters everywhere, but I (we) pulled it off.  At the end of the night I was feeling pretty good about myself because I had delivered and had about thirty US dollars in tips to show for my efforts.  Now back then, the US dollar wasn’t worth what the Canadian dollar was and boy the Yanks hated that but thirty dollars was more in tips than I had ever made at any time as a gardener/driver.  This was great.


I went back to my room, had a shower and slept soundly.  I was a bartender now, or was I?