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It gets in your pores, man

Several of my childhood summers were spent at my grandparents' fishing cabin, deep in the black-fly infested wilds of northern Quebec.

The experience was great not only for myself and the boatload of cousins who accompanied me, but also our parents who were able to ditch us for two months without the overhead of a traditional summer camp.

There were moose. There were bear. There was manbearpig. Well, not the real manbearpig, but we did have a neighbor named Lionel who resembled something between a heavyweight boxer and a fur coat.

He'd drink Canadian whiskey, laugh and slap our backs so hard you'd swear your eyes had popped clear out of your skull. Then, he'd mumble something in French Canadian, point and laugh some more.

At least we thought it was French Canadian. It could have been some booze-created dialect that required soaking the listener with tobacco-tainted spittle.

Either way we couldn't make out a darn thing the manbearpig said. Which is probably how Gram wanted it. God forbid we returned to grade school the next year spewing French Canadian obscenities at our classmates through tobacco-tainted spittle.

As entertaining as we found old Lionel, however, nothing could top the never-ending string of pranks my cousins and I would play on one another to wallow away the hot summer days.

It seemed little was sacred and Gram - as long as no one got bruised or bloodied - would more-often-than-not applaud the creativity of the prankster and chide the gullibility of the prankee.

Perhaps my all-time favorite, however, was played out on my cousin, Mike, by my brother, Brian. The year was 1980 and the pair agreed to hike to a small pond directly behind camp.

Bored with the pace of the fishing, Brian decided to bet Mike $10 he couldn't walk the length of a 30-foot log that hung precariously over the water.

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