Lenore's mother wanted her to become a world-class figure skater. That never came to pass mainly because, much to her mother's chagrin, Lenore had no desire to do so. But, boy howdy, could that gal ice skate.
There is a special spot off the main highway near here that makes me think of Lenore every time I drive by it. We would meet on a sunny, early winter day, drive to the area, park our venicle as far off on the side of the road as we could safely get, grab our ice skates and hike through brush and stubble until we got to a secluded, mid-sized pond where early in the season, before snow became deep on the ice, she and I would spend a couple of hours skating. I often thought perhaps Lenore's mother had been right; she could have been a fantastic figure skater if she had so desired.
In the deep winter time, we'd go cross country skiing together. Most of the time she'd lead the way and although I was in good shape and a competent skier, I'd often come around a curve to finally catch up only to find her waiting for me while taking one of her regular cigarette breaks. I would be puffing, too, but only to catch my breath since keeping up with her was a challenge.
It wasn't just in physical activities that Lenore excelled. She hand-crafted quirky, colorful dolls out of leather dressed to look like the French voyageurs who once paddled great distances across the Great Lakes. Selling the dolls to select big city stores turned out to be such a success that at one time she employed fifteen people working for her. Then one day she decided it wasn't fun anymore and she never made another one except as a special gift.
Each early spring, Lenore volunteered to check wood duck boxes that the local Department of Natural Resources had constructed and mounted high on trees on the shores of various lakes in the area. Lenore's job was to determine whether the nest box had been used the previous year, clean it out in anticipation for the current year's nesting ducks and fill out a form to hand in to the DNR.
Gaining access to these nest boxes required carrying an extension ladder through some fairly rugged territory and then using it to reach the boxes. Since someone had to help carry the extension ladder, she talked me into joining her on one of these expeditions. But only once.
I don't remember ever being so cold and muddy and miserable. Spending the day slogging through mud and water up to my whazoo while carrying the
She was a skilled carpenter, quilter, photographer, flower grower and arranger and never hesitated to climb up on a neighbor's roof to clean out a wood stove chimney.
Lenore passed away several years ago sooner than anyone who knew her would have expected. Had she had more time, who knows just what other adventures she would have experienced.
Seeing ice forming on ponds, streams and lakes early this year brings back lots of memories of a fun-loving, very talented friend. She's missed.