While I was in Canada fishing I was without any means of communication. The only thing that would have worked was a satellite phone, and while I considered it I figured I was being ridiculous. I did know that the camp had a radio, and I figured that with enough work you could get through via the radio if there was an emergency. I had visions in my head of Radar in MAS*H patching calls through for Hawkeye to talk to his Dad. It all seemed very do-able.

On only the second day of fishing, after we came back in from the afternoon session there was a message. Everyone was pretty confused since it was so unexpected. George, the Native American that ran the camp had left a scrap of paper for us. The message, exactly as it was delivered is below.


Nobody knew what to do with it, until someone figured out whose phone number that was. It was mine! Obviously there is no message there, so I went to find George a bit anxious about what my message was. George spoke very little English. It turned out, that was the whole message. That was all he had for me, my phone number.

Now, imagine yourself in the middle of the wilderness the recipient of an envelope with no letter in it. It drove me nuts, and of course my mind started going crazy. Was something wrong with Mazie? Tammy? Was there an accident? What’s going on? Argh!

We put the radio to work and it turned out that Radar O’Reilly was nowhere near. The radio couldn’t even reach the nearest village without relaying through another person in another camp. All radio communication was in Ojibwe/Cree so I had no idea what was being said. Theoretically they were going to relay a message and try to call my house to find out what the message was. According to caller ID nobody ever called the house. After a day nobody had flown in to get me, so I figured that it must not be an emergency. It was 4 days before we would leave.

I never did get the message until we flew out of camp on the float plane and got to the nearest airport. I immediately called home to find out what was going on. The message was that my Grandpa had been in the hospital and that they did not think he was going to make it. His health was very poor, and cancer was getting him. But he had recuperated a bit and had returned home. Unfortunately, time was against me and my grandpa passed away less than 24 hours after I got home.