Lake Erie with a Weird Uncle and a Giant Teddy Bear

Lake Erie Shore

I like quiet places. I like libraries and bookshops, I like cycle rides into fields full of cows and big skies, and I’m pretty sure I’d love the eerie aftermath of a nuclear explosion. And talking of eerie, I also liked Lake Erie, the smallest of the Great Lakes in Canada/America. It was peaceful, in a way.

I was studying at the University of Windsor in Canada and my friend’s weird uncle was visiting. He’d rented a car so the three of us drove down to Point Pelee, which is a patch of land that juts into the north side of Lake Erie like a penis going somewhere it shouldn’t.

It was October. It was cold and windy. The weird uncle, who we’ll call Ken, played Marillion in the car on the hour’s drive down. I was surprised to learn Marillion were even still alive, let alone still making new albums and touring. As is synonymous with weird, Ken was also interesting. He had so many opinions on so many things that he had to keep extra soapboxes in the back of the car.

He was also living self-sufficiently in France, having built his house and set up generators and growing his own food. He also had a semi-regular radio show and held a post at the Open University. His life was one big hobby.

He also had a giant teddy bear called Strawberry, who always went on his travels with him, or was given to my friend to take on her travels. I’ve met people before who have teddy bears with them, often to replace a friend who couldn’t make it (work commitments, falling in love, cancer – y’know, the usual excuses), but those people bring a teddy that fits into a backpack. There I was, sitting in the back seat of a car next to a teddy bear the size of an eight-year-old. He even had his seat belt on.

Thankfully, Strawberry stayed in the car while we were at Point Pelee.

We had a look around the museum, which was very much like any generic small museum in the world and if you need a description of it you’re an incredibly tedious person (if you do want a description, email me and I’ll send fucking photos). There were some stuffed animals and snippets of text and some interesting facts, that’s all you need to know.

Shore of Lake Erie

We walked down to the lake, following the wooded path, then we came to the end, out to the point of Point Pelee itself, and into the wind. We got blustered and flustered and pulled our zips up and shoved our hands further into our pockets.

There were a few other hardy souls out and they were as polite as Canadians are required to be. They also gave us a nod and a knowing smile shared between groups of humans doing a “fun” activity despite the weather. “We know,” they were saying, “we’re as crazy as you. Aren’t we great?”

Desolate Lake Erie

Lake Erie with Sand, Branch and Bird

I’m not sure I could recommend anyone to visit Point Pelee, at least not in the winter. If you’re normal, wait until the spring or summer so you get some sun and some animals and maybe even the chance of a picnic outdoors rather than holed up in your car.

It was a desolate place, Lake Erie on a windy October day. There was nothing there. There were a few birds, a handful of humans, lots of lifeless trees and a whole lot of water. It felt like the end of the world. It was a quiet place. I loved it.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike Powell says:

    I laughed my way through your story and loved its word plays (like eerie-Erie) and the strange twists. It was a great way to start my day.


  2. TonyJ2 says:

    Light and bright. Honest not earnest.


  3. globalexplorer1 says:

    Humorously written. And yes, we’ve all been to that museum at some remote spot along some long ago traveled road.


  4. Nice capture sir, photographically and verbally!


  5. Love the photos, got to wonder about a life size teddy bear though. That’s funny 🙂


    1. ambigram0 says:

      Wish I had a picture! 😦


  6. Quiet places – cold places, they’re sometimes the best! 🙂 And as per usual, great photos!


    1. ambigram0 says:

      I must admit, I would prefer Lake Erie in the winter to sunbathing on a massively busy touristy beach somewhere.


  7. Nate Shenk says:

    This was the first piece of writing of yours for me to read and when you said “my friend’s weird uncle” I assumed you were exaggerating…then along came Strawberry and I believed you, completely haha. Great little story, mate! Glad I randomly stumbled upon your site. Your Facebook page just gained a new member 😀


    1. ambigram0 says:

      Woo! Thanks! My Facebook page is awfully lonely at the moment.


  8. eateattravel says:

    I’m interested to learn that there are other men in this world who drive around with giant teddy bears buckled into their cars… I met my teddy bear man on a date 😦 First and only.
    Like your writing a lot.


    1. ambigram0 says:

      You met your teddy bear man on a date? Did you ask him, “So, what are your interests?” and he went “Well, I like going on road trips with my giant teddy bear. How about you?”


      1. eateattravel says:

        He’d mentioned an interest in teddy bears but I’d hopefully assumed he was joking. Just to make conversation I asked about it, and he took me to his car to meet his giant friends (2 of them). I think he must have been a bit lonely.


      2. ambigram0 says:

        Ahaha that’s hilarious! A little bit creepy but probably a completely harmless guy. I would’ve liked him I’m sure!


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