Started coming up here in ’69, hale and hearty as we were. Rode as far as Winnepeg in my VW bus with our gear strapped on the roof. Two weeks every August when the pike were biting.
’81 was the year Eddie caught a 32-inch walleye. Had it mounted in his bar. Us drunk on the dock, singin’ ‘Oh Manitoba’. Next year Randy died all sudden-like and no one felt like singing.
Phil got the cancer in ‘95 and stayed home to fight it. Next year he flew out anyway, cancer riding copilot, trademark ballcap loose on his bald head.
By 2001, most of the rest of us were retired, but feelin’ fine.
The tens were rough and by ’18 it was just me and Eddie.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” he said on the phone a month before. But wouldn’t you know it, his wife just called.
Manitoba’s seen the last of us, I fear.