Wheeling Park Ch. 03byAmeaner©
So, that first day, I learned how to extend the pop-out sections from the sides of our Winnebago before I could even get a pair of jeans on. Those crazy tits of Shelly's made that a nightmare in my basketball shorts from the night before, but I finally managed to get away from all the hubbub long enough to change into a pair of black jeans and an old, gray button up shop shirt I got at the thrift store with a cool emblem over one pocket that said, Freightliner. Of course I had to get rid of the opposite one that said, Saleem, as soon as I got it home.
Okay, so I'm changed and walking outside just in time to see a beat up old Ford truck carefully nosing into the lot under Ollie's un-needed directions. When it stopped, a couple of rough looking guys in shorts and T-shirts got out of the cab, another out of the back with a big German Shepherd.
I'd say this was the first odd thing about Wheeling Park that grabbed my attention.
Ollie came around to take the leash of the dog before approaching me with it. I looked at this large, oncoming, strange animal with very little trust and a growing fear.
"It's okay, dear, this is Maddie. She's a good dog, aren't ya, Maddie, aren't ya, girl? Just put your hand out so she can meet you. She's smart, don't worry."
If I knew this was going to happen, I'd have stayed in the damned RV, but here's all these tough guys hanging around and what the hell else could I do, other than hightail it back into the Winnebago? And what in hell was this 'dear' thing?
I carefully stuck my hand out, palm up like Ollie demonstrated, so the canine could rip my fingers off. Thankfully, it only took a quick, sloppy lick at them before it settled its jaw in my hand.
"Heh, heh!" Ollie laughed heavily. "See that, now you can pet her, just slip your hand up there. There you go. Now, that dog is posted here as long as you guys are, once again, on account of the fuckin' locals. Everybody here who ain't allergic got one, so stuff doesn't disappear at night."
"Okay," I said, seeing the sense in this, considering what was loaded on the rear cargo deck of the RV.
"So, just tie her up here tonight after we're gone, make sure you feed her and pay attention to her and she'll stay around without the rope after that, you got it?"
"Alright, you go with Jeffries here and he'll show you how to get your services hooked up while I introduce your mum to Maddie."
"Okay," I agreed as if I had any other choice.
I mostly worked with this Jeffries after that while the other two went about leveling the RV. He seemed like a good enough guy, about twenty-five or so, I guessed. He said he was there with his parents and went on and on about his jet ski, which was in the shop, but expected to be at the campground within the week.
After the RV was leveled, the other guys left, leaving me and Jeffries with Ollie supervising. We took the truck around to the front row and picked up a rough looking, but solid old picnic table and loaded it upside down into the wide-side box. After we got back, he sent Jeffries next door to his lot to collect his lawnmower and then there was this job, that errand and every other thing for us until Jeffries was sent home. Ollie then directed me in stringing the patio lanterns Mom wanted until the colourful things were strung willy nilly over the lot. Last, we assembled the hibachi she'd bought (with my tools that I brought for my bike, which seemed to impress the funny old guy) and ended up sitting in, what I had to admit, was suddenly a pretty cool little area with him.
Let me just stop here to give you my own impression of Ollie at the time, beyond Jenifer's accurate description of his physical appearance and where her sometimes stunned lack of abilities in reading people fails to do Ollie justice.
He's one of these high feelin' guys who are used to calling the shots and used to having that accepted by people around him, which I found isn't unusual in a lot of older guys, but it was more tangible in him. I got the feeling he had money, but preferred not to show it if he could help it. That said, I wouldn't have been surprised to learn he owned a Caddy, but that Caddy would be an older, well maintained model.
He was totally unconcerned about his appearance, standing there with his hairy barrel chest half exposed, cigarette sticking out of his head with those seventies style shades. This is something else I'd noticed about a lot of older people, that attitude of not caring, or of having given up, but with him it was different. If I ever met a guy who had nothing to prove, it was Ollie.
Overall, he looked like a smalltime hood from Las Vegas.
But that was just one side of him. He also had this sincerity that didn't leave any room for doubt in his word if he said something was for my own good, or that the dog would protect us, or whatever. And you knew he cared. No matter how he swore and grumbled at both Jeffries and me when we'd screw up something that he thought would have been foolproof, it was always 'dear' for me and 'boy' for Jeffries before he was over it and we were moving on, he demonstrating the proper way to go about the task without attitude or grudge. He was respectable, not just in the way a grandfather is, but because the other side of that respect was an innate sense of the man that anyone with an ounce of brains would get if they really paid attention to him. You didn't cross him.
I showed him sincere respect for all these reasons, but mostly I should say that the funny old guy just fucking deserved it and that was that. I answered him truthfully and simply and I did what he told me to do, because that was just the way his personality dictated things. Not to mention the fact that this whole situation had me a little off-gaurd to begin with. I've never cared for strange people, usually for people period, and while I felt totally out of my element, Ollie's direction actually helped me to settle in as a kind of individual, but essential cog in some greater gearbox, if you know what I mean.
Then, there's Shelly. Like her husband, she's impossible not to like, but for different reasons. She's best described as being 'full of life'. One very cheerful woman who loves people and making them feel welcome and at home. She was definitely the grandmother to Ollie's grandfather thing. Her laugh, the most careless and genuine you'd ever need to hear, floated out the windows of the RV as she sat in there talking to Mom, who seemed to love her almost right away. It sounds corny, but you could tell the woman just loved life and tried to enjoy every moment of it by spreading it to those around her.
Except for one instant, when I had to run into the RV for something. She and Mom were sitting across from each other at the booth, Mom looking upset, or depressed, tracing some invisible design on the tabletop she stared forlornly at while Shelly spoke in low, reassuring tones, reaching out and touching her forearm.
And of course, there's those huge tits of hers. My god! I mean, we've all seen them online and they weren't as big as the really ridiculous ones, but to be face to face with them was quite an experience, let me tell you. I found it almost impossible not to look at them. Okay, I could go on and on about them, how I wondered if her bra straps were made from the same stuff as cargo straps, or maybe bungees by the way they bounced when she walked, or how they could possibly still have any perk left to them,... You get my point, they were big and great despite her age and any man who liked big tits would be drawn to this ultimate example, just for the sake of them.
So, Ollie and I are just all finished, both of us smiling in satisfaction at our work, when in sashays Jen. I didn't really take note when she left, with all that was going on, but I sure noticed her return. She was still in what she wore to bed, walking quickly with a funny, bright smile on her face. Her hair and clothes were wet, indicating she'd gone for a swim, and this state of her clothing did quite a bit for her, to the point where I had to turn and walk to the back of the RV for want of someplace to run from this awkward situation, promising myself I'd pressure wash that image out of my mind later on, along with the one of how nice Mom's tits looked in her lingerie the night before.
"Hi, Sweetheart! You're back like you said you would be."
"Yup! I'm just gonna run in and change and I'll be all ready."
"Go see Shelly and your mum when you're ready, sweetie."
"Okay," she said happily before I heard the side door of the RV open, then close behind her.
I began unfastening the bungees that held a large blue tarp over my bike, so it wouldn't get covered in road grime during its transit on the ass end of the camper, hanging them on one rung of the ladder that led to the roof of the giant refrigerator on wheels. Ollie came around the corner just as I was neatly rolling the tarp on the grass, so I could bind it with the bungees for storage.
"You're pretty fastidious, aren't you?" he asked, puffing on his ever present cigarette and smiling down at me.
"Why do you say that?"
"The way you work. What you're doin here. ... And then there's this." he finished, just then noticing the Honda.
Dad bought me this used bike shortly after the divorce, along with a trailer that he kept at the house. He'd come out every weekend and take me out someplace where I could ride it, until those visits got further and further apart. So, I'd decided to make it road legal in time for university. Since I couldn't ride it in the meantime, that left plenty of time to actually go out and get my bike license, not to mention time in our garage with it and a shop manual I ordered online.
The result was buffed and compounded, shiny red plastic with black number plates, freshly painted black frame and a stripped and polished gearbox and cylinder head. All the aluminum everywhere, including the wheels were highly polished and the only thing that took away from it was the old blue seat and the previous owners damage to the tank, fenders and side panels that I couldn't make go away.
Before this emergency trip to cottage country, my plan was to have the signal lights and stuff that I'd bought all mounted, the bike on the road and legal by August. Mom's promises to that end didn't do much for me. I wanted to do this myself, not with second hand money from Dad that made everything all better. He got me the bike, that was enough and that's why I sold the trailer.
I summarized all this with Ollie by saying, "I had some time on my hands."
"What year is it, eighty,...?"
"Fuck, it's an antique, by car standards. You do all this?"
"Junior's pretty heavy into bikes and shit, too, you should go visit him."
"Down the end of the row?"
"Yeah," he said pointing. "Can't miss the place, looks like a fuckin' parking lot."
I grabbed the bungees and started binding the tarp with them while he lightly tugged on the ropes that held the Honda fast.
"Holy shit, dear, what kinda Cowboy Bob knots ya got here?" he laughed around a cigarette.
I couldn't help but grin, remembering how I looked critically at them myself before we left.
"I know, but I had to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. I figured I'd worry about untying it once we got where we were going."
I tossed the neatly bundled tarp aside for later storage and stood beside him as he replied, still laughing good naturedly.
"Well, you accomplished that, alright. Jeez, I never seen nothin like this, I can't even find an end."
"Well, there's one down here under the deck, tied on the back of the frame and, since that's the last knot I made, I guess I'll start there," I said, getting to my knees so I could slip underneath.
Ollie amusedly plucked at one of the ropes in the mishmash of webbing that covered the bike as if it were a guitar string while fishing in his pocket. He came up with a medium sized jackknife- with knuckle guards on the handle. Odd little thing number two.
"Take that, I'm bettin' you'll need it."
"Oh,... thanks, I just might."
Between the both of us, we managed to have my bike down in about ten minutes, most of that time spent undoing my mess so that the rope would be useable again, rather than just cutting it. He really was pretty strong, too. He had me steady it by the seat and handlebar grip while he picked the front up by the fork tubes. We rolled it along on the back wheel until the skidpan wouldn't drag on the edge of the deck before he put the front wheel down on the grass with some mild cursing around the cigarette jammed between his lips. Then we just let the rear end drop down and that was that.
"Got gas in 'er?"
"I got about three quarters of a tank and a full five gallon can in one of those storage boxes at the bottom." I said, gesturing to the lower quarters of the RV.
"The women'll be out in a minute or two with some food, bring er on around and have something to eat before you go out. Put around anywhere you want, just don't leave the park without some of the boys with you." he repeated.
He tousled the top of my head and said, "C'mon."
As I walked the bike beside him, he began extolling the virtues of Brill cream and almost had me convinced when, a short time later, Shelly emerged with Mom and Jen, carrying plates of covered food, some prepped for the hibachi grill.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Less than an hour later, I was putting around like Ollie'd suggested. I began by touring the back row, the whole way waving back to people who would glance at the sound of the bike, expecting to see someone they knew, I suppose, then doing a double take, but waving anyway. It made me a little uncomfortable, what with the thing I have about people and all that.
I recalled our dinner, sitting at the picnic table beside Shelly, Ollie on her other side with Jenifer directly opposite me, Mom beside her. Mom and our new neighbors talked along like they'd been friends for years back home while I watched Jenifer paying attention to them. I wondered if Mom saw what condition her condition was in when she returned earlier, even wondering if she'd say anything if she did. It didn't seem to phase Ollie one bit, but,... What was going on with that? Was she even aware of what she looked like? It just wasn't like her to go parading herself around like that, at all.
Ambling along in second gear, I remembered how she caught my eye once as Ollie was explaining all the reasons why Ignatieff was too inept and incompetent to ever get the Liberal party off its knees. She flashed a quick smile before taking in my expression and changing hers to one of questioning curiosity, brows raised and silently asking, 'What?' I looked away, deciding to forget about it.
At the end of the row, I did see Juniors lot, it being the parking lot Ollie had described, but beyond waving back to a small group of guys standing in the dirt driveway around five or six Harleys, I had no interest in the place right then. I navigated the right turn, heading towards the water and to the front row, and noted a large, permanent building close to the water that looked like it had been there forever. Behind it and further up the bank, was another permanent building, one of those mini-homes with gray cedar shingles and, other than these two, I'd seen no other homes or buildings that couldn't be towed away quickly and easily.
I waved back to someone else and was beginning to feel like a paranoid jackrabbit with a throttle, sitting forward with my knees just below and beside the tank, feet perched back and under me on the pegs as if there may be cause to sprint away at any time.
Someone was yelling my name.
I looked around and saw the someone on the back deck of the large old building, waving his arms in my direction.
It was someone big. Elmo.
At least I'd been introduced to him and it looked like he was alone, so I headed in that direction. I stopped and left the bike on the kickstand beside a muddy ATV in a small parking area out front, before proceeding up the steps to the wrap-around veranda and around back to the waterfront side. I found him tearing through a plank across two sawhorses with a handsaw like it was a loaf of bread. He finished with it a few moments later and looked up while putting the saw down.
"Help me out with something?"
Gesturing to the long plank seating that surrounded the high deck, he said, "Gotta bolster those railings without getting' rid of, or covering the old thin planks we got there now. So, I got some pieces here to hang between the vertical posts behind the railing, but I need someone to hold one end while I get them nailed up."
"Right on, man. Here, grab an end. Fuckin heavy, so just take your time when we're getting it in place."
We got it in place and I asked while he hammered, "How come you have to leave the old planks?"
"Well, we like the place to look like it always looked."
"I don't get it."
"We don't want things to change out here. This building- this is the club, by the way-this building used to be an old barn in Hull. We dismantled the barn, trucked all the wood here almost ten years ago and built the Club with it."
"Nope. Pretty fuckin' cool, huh? Okay, I got it," he said, taking my end from me so he could nail it.
"I can hold it from over here while you nail it."
"No, it's cool. So anyway, yeah,... we built this club like it was always here and people don't want anything to change about the place."
"Now I think I get it. Hard to imagine, though. One year it's a barn in Quebec and the next it's a Club in Ontario cottage country."
"Yeah, I know- you son of a whore!" he cursed under his breath at a nail he'd bent. "-I know, but I've heard of whole castles being taken apart and put back together exactly the same way they were, and on a different continent."
"Jeez,... The logistics,..."
"Right," he said, pointing his hammer at me while grabbing another nail from his carpenter's apron. "They had to mark each and every block. Our little project was pretty easy, compared to that. Hardest part was tearing it down, but a bunch of us went out and made a party out of it and, from there, we just had to get it all loaded on a fuckin' pulp truck and off it went."
"Guess you can never tell what'll happen when you end up in Hull."
"It's a Hull of a thing, alright." he laughed while bashing another spike home. "Will jokes about Hull ever get old?"
"Hull, no, not as far as I'm concerned." I answered with a sudden grin. I liked this guy.
By the time we were finished with the railing, we were both drenched in sweat under the hot, mid afternoon sun, him more than me.
"Fuck, finally! Hey, help me lug my tools up the house and we'll have a cold beer."
"Sure. What about my bike?"
"Just leave it, locals only come around at night if, they're gonna, and I'm just up the hill here, anyway. Fuck, it's hot! If the wife wouldn't take a conniption fit if she caught me, I'd take off my shirt. You imagine we're looking at a heat wave in a day or two? They're sayin' it could go on for weeks, too."
"Yeah, but there's the lake."
"In a week, I wouldn't be surprised to see all of us livin' in that fuckin' lake."
We climbed the gradual slope to his house, by way of some old plank steps that seemed to grow out of the ground, and walked around back where there was a short, level drive that exited to the back row. The rear wall of his place was edged with a deck that was low enough not to need railings and had some old wooden kitchen chairs lined against the wall. All the curtains seemed closed and the sound of some old seventies soft rock came from inside when he opened the door and I followed him in.