In 1995 our neighbours at the lake came by with a hand full of flyers and photocopies of a Dippy for sale from one of the city neighbours. I volunteer to help them sell the boat and took all of the flyers they had on them……but did not distribute a single one. The boat was located on Jackson’s Point on Lake Simcoe and was called the River Queen. I took a little ride with the owner on the river and recognized that the boat need a bit of work but it putted along peacefully. I learned from the owner that the boat was originally owned by Chief Big Canoe, founding Chief of the reserve on Georgiana Island and that the boat was used regularly during the development of the reserve.
We took the Queen to George Rossiter in Collingwood and the engine to my dear friend John Thomson. We renamed her Isabel after three very imporant ladies in our family history including my great grandmother on my mother’s side, my grandmother on my father’s side, and my mother’s middle name. John and Happy helped us with our inaugural launch at Nicholson’s landing on Gloucester Pool. Years later after an accident with a fuel leak Isabel went through another restoration by Eric Seepa from Orillia and she continues to be in show condition.
I would like to share two fond memories.
I have known John and Happy since I joined ACBS in 1986 and getting the dippy drew us even closer. Having trouble getting her started I asked John if he could swing by the cottage from his place on Maclean Lake. John taught me how to get Dippy Lips by blowing the gas tank to clear the fuel line of any air bubbles. I was blowing and blowing into the gas tank at the bow of the boat while John sat in the cockpit accessing the carburetor. I had a face that reeked of gasoline and I turned exhausted to ask him a question and there sat John lighting his pipe that he had pulled out of his pocket……..I quickly asked him what he was doing – I have a face full of gasoline! and we laughed while he stubbed out his pipe. John did me the great favour of teaching me every time we worked on the boat which has allowed me to assess little situations for many years since.
Every Dippy owner has a breakdown story which comes with frustration and disappointment. This one is a little different. Derra and I were all set to enjoy a day on Lake Muskoka with the other Dippsters at the annual regatta. We had a wonderful picnic basket all packed with a few refreshments and we were ready to enjoy a day of peaceful tranquility one putt putt at a time. Very early in the journey we spotted Patrick and Sam Wren rowing their dippy to a island dock. We stopped to ask them if they were okay and they indicated they had a breakdown. We offered to tow them back but we were going to get left behind the flotilla of Dippys so we agreed that Patrick and Sam would join us in our boat for the day. They gathered their things – picnic basket, cooler of refreshments, jackets and hats…….and then they started to gather the two dozen plush bears they they had in their boat. I quickly suggested that maybe the bears could stay back with their dippy and we could pick them up on the return trip………Yikes! You do not want to hear the answer that I got to that suggestion. So all of the bears including Teddy who was as big as Patrick were piled into the boat with Teddy taking over the co-pilot seat at the stern. Well the good news was that we had a great day and developed a wonderful friendship with the Wren’s and the cooler of refreshment’s help me get over myself and embrace my day with Teddy.
I quickly learned that you cannot take yourself too seriously in a Dippy. You are not going anywhere too quickly so sit back and enjoy the ride, take in the sights and scenery – you never know you might see a bear along the way.
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