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The most awesome landslides can often be triggered by the smallest pebbles. Alyssa, with her kind-hearted and generous offer to allow me to the use of her mother’s getaway place, precipitated a grand and glorious weekend that otherwise might never have happened.

It began when I discovered that Alyssa and I shared a common passion for a small patch of countryside centred in Bruce County on the shore of Lake Huron. For my part, it was Port Elgin, the centre of fond summer vacation memories. For her, it was the town a few kilometres up the coast, Southampton where her mother had purchased some property.

Over the years, Alyssa has become like a fourth daughter (or a fifth, or sixth. There are many who are welcome.) She is welcome any time at our door and doesn’t need to knock for entry. As it happened, her mother was vacationing in Scotland for a time so they offered me the Southampton place if I wanted to revisit and explore the scenes of so many happy memories.

With my youngest one finally off to university things began to fall into place. I was looking forward to a small escape with increasing delight. Then another thought occurred to me. I could play host to a DORKS event. By inviting the other four of our merry, misguided band along this could be a suitable warm-up for our main event scheduled for November.

A few telephone calls had four of the five lined up and ready for an adventure. But this was unknown territory, uncertain ground so I made an advanced scouting trip the evening before the others were to arrive.

Getting there at 10:30 pm on Thursday night, I found the place occupied by a family who was quite determined to stay there through the weekend that I had planned. A classic case of miscommunication and misunderstanding. They had first claim on the place and legitimately so. There was nothing for it but to turn about, call the whole thing off, figure out how to break the news to the others, and make the three-and-a-half-hour return trip home.

While sitting in the Southampton Tim Horton’s, drowning my sorrows with an éclair and a double/double, I was struck by an unaccustomed flash of brilliance from somewhere deep within my dejected brain. Perhaps we could simply transpose the DORK event to another locale.

A quick call to Paul while sipping my coffee set in motion a plan to relocate the weekend to Karl’s cottage on Raven Lake. It was a goodly distance from Southampton, but it could be done and Karl was willing. The only possible hitch was that no one could reach Frank directly. Messages of all sorts were sent to alert him of the change, but in true DORK fashion, Frank headed out for Southampton early Friday morning, eager to give his new BMW a run. He got to meet the same perplexed gentleman that I encountered the night before.

Once Frank was pointed in the right direction it was easy for me to meet him in Dorset, near to Karl’s place. We knew where the key was “secretly” hidden so the cottage was prepared and the campfire ablaze (or was the campfire prepared and the cottage ablaze? A few brew had been downed by that time.) when the other two arrived that night.

DORKS are nothing if not resilient, resourceful, and adaptable. On second thought perhaps we are just nothing; a much easier standard to achieve and maintain.

The weather was finer than any we’ve experienced for years. The leaves were still on the trees and yet the insects were gone. The fishing was unparalleled for any DORK adventure. We hiked the trails, explored the intriguing Dorset Museum, and marvelled at the restored Bigwin steamship, finally back in the water after so many derelict years. The food was excellent, the drink abundant and the friendship undiminished.

And it was all thanks to Alyssa!

If it weren’t for you the event wouldn’t have happened.

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