This might not be the story you were hoping for but I did want to share with you a recent experience I had while passing through Merrickville. I had planned a kayaking expedition from Smith Falls to Ottawa over 3.5 days in late September. The first way I got lucky was the weather; it was mid-August warm even so late in the season with cool evenings and light winds the entire journey. But specific to Merrickville, this was my first planned camping site. As I hauled my 17’ sea kayak loaded with all of my gear on my kayak cart, I was very dismayed to find one of the tires was flat despite having pumped it up and inspected it before leaving. This discovery left my mind spinning for other solutions as there was no way I would be able to man handle my kayak through all of the many portages left to go. As a short term solution, I walked the portage down to the bottom of the locks to scout it out. Here is where my luck turned. I saw two couples putting in canoes for a paddle and I yelled out to the last pair explaining my situation. This just so happened to include Tony Shaw and his out of town buddy Angus. After a brief explanation and questions back and forth across the Canal, Tony came up with a radical idea – he would lend me his canoe cart and I could bring it back when I reached Ottawa. I was briefly at a loss for words as a person I had met 90 seconds ago was offering to simply give me something of his and we hadn’t even exchanged names yet! So we worked it out that Tony and Angus would finish their paddle and Tony would bring his canoe cart to the top of the locks and test it out on my kayak. He showed up when he said he would and made sure it worked with my kayak and then took my broken cart and gave me his home address and cellphone to swap back after my trip. I used Tony’s cart through all of the locks all the way to Ottawa and it worked perfectly. From Ottawa, I then took the train back to Smiths Falls, grabbed my car, drove to Ottawa, grabbed my kayak and then drove to Merrickville, exchanged kayak carts, shook Tony’s hand again and then drove home.
This is how I got VERY lucky one Thursday in Merrickville. I am writing to let you all know the kind of people who live in your town – Tony is one hell of a nice guy and I’m so lucky to have met him.