Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monsters on Holiday

Lake Okanagan. It only LOOKS peaceful and serene...
The Ogopogo was going to get me!
Ahem . . .
I have a vivid imagination.
I admit it.
It’s carried me to places near and far.
Most of which simply don’t exist.
But that doesn’t stop me from visiting them.
The problem with a vivid imagination is that it can cause you a lot of needless worry and some amazing heart gymnastics.
On with my story . . .
My family was visiting Penticton on the south shore of Lake Okanagan in the beautiful interior of British Columbia.
We had been having a marvelous time.
Picking fruit.
Eating fruit.
And stopping at any and all tourist sites.
Heaven.
We were camped just feet away from the shore of the lake.
A beautiful, peaceful body of water approximately 80 miles long and with an average depth of about 250 feet.
Now, I should mention here that I loved swimming.
I had learned in the muddy waters of the Milk River that flowed past our ranch.
We spent our entire summer in that river.
So, murky-ness didn’t scare me.
Nope.
What scared me were the tales of the great Ogopogo that supposedly inhabited that serene-looking body of water. The Ogopogo with its horse-shaped head and great undulating, serpent-like body that had been known to swallow native canoeists whole.
I stood on the beach and stared long and hard at the water, looking for anything that might betray the presence of the beast. Because I knew that, if I slid even one foot into that water, the monster would immediately sense the presence of a ten-year-old gleamingly white-skinned, skinny, tow-headed girl and think, “Oooh! My favourite meal!”
And pop to the top.
I knew it.
I would rather have watched my feet break through the scummy surface of some smelly municipal sewer than to disappear beneath the clean water of Lake Okanagan.
Except that sewers have been known to harbour their own monsters.
Sigh.
Finally, with much cajoling and some really pointed teasing, I waded in.
And I do mean waded – the water never reached my knees.
I wasn’t happy about it.
Every splash made me jump.
And I had a nagging, persistent feeling that great, piercing, bloodshot eyes were watching my every move, deciding where would be the tastiest place to sink sharp, ragged teeth.
I spent the entire ‘swim’ continually glancing behind me, certain I’d see a line of ripples leading in my direction. Or worse, a great, hulking form rising up out of the water, slavering jaws wide open and  . . . eww . . . dripping.
And where would my holiday be then?
Finally, I parked my little self on the beach.
Safely back from the monster-filled water.
Under a lovely, toasty sun.
I watched my brothers and sisters and scores of others as they tempted fate.
Silly, foolish people.
Tourist view in Kelowna.

'Actual' photo of the Ogopogo. You decide . . .

6 comments:

  1. Phew, you tempted fate and lived to tell the tale!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This made me laugh, because I can sooo relate. If I can't see wasn't beneath the waters, I won't go in!!! I live in MN, the land of 10,000 lakes and although I love our lakes, I don't like swimming in them. I had a tangle with a leech once as kid and that was it for me!! Loved your story Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Imagination is cruel at least as often as she is kind...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw an episode of The Saint many years ago. It was about the Loch Ness Monster and how a couple of perps were using it for their own personal gain. Interesting the monster got them in the end. I watched an episode of Unsolved Mysteries that was about the Ogo Pogo. A lot of people believe they saw it. Now I can think about someone being in an 'altered' state of mind, sort of; he's in the water up to his chest and his hand slowly emerges from the water... Like in Young Frankenstein...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even jellyfish and crabs skeeve me out, so I'd be on the shore with you, Diane!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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