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HANNIGAN'S WOOOS/Robert Solomon IN OCTOBER HE SPENT a good part of each day on the roof, m the mornings he'd go up there wrapped in an old army blanket with a thermos of coffee and sit at the edge, looking out at Lefreniere's Island or at the Adirondacks across the bay. He'd remember the old days in the fall, his father taking them down the highway in the sky-blue Electra convertible, the top back and the mountains looming ahead like a great lidless box füled with a thousand crayon tips of red and orange and yellow. He remembered the morning his mother had refused to go with them and how, as she returned to her bedroom, he'd told his father that she shouldn't be alone and that he would stay with her. His father had told him to go ahead to the car with his older brother, Billy. He remembered thinking that they'd planned this moment, and he could stiU see clearly the way his mother had looked at his father just before she shut her bedroom door. He was twelve, and it was a Sunday morning, and his mother was dying of cancer. They'd gone out at sunrise, BiUy in the front and he, Gabriel, in the back. Their father drove them to the ferry docks and shut off the headUghts as they puUed into the lot. It was late autumn; even so his father put the top back on the car. He remembered how good the heat had felt, blowing up from beneath BUly's seat. He could stiU remember putting his tongue between his teeth so that they wouldn't chatter. They'd parked, facing the water. Lefreniere's Island was a quarter of a mile out, and Billy shaded his eyes and pointed there and said that someone had a fire going on the island. The sun threw an aisle of light across the whitecaps from the dock to the island, and Gabriel could see the cedars along the headland slowly coming to light. The shale apron of the island was still in shadow, and he saw what looked to be smoke rising along the shore. His father shut off the engine. He said that what looked like smoke was in reality fog rising from the water and that in the old days the Iroquois thought it was, indeed, smoke and beUeved that it came from the Invisible Men who lived beneath the water. He said that each morning , when they canoed out to the island with satchels of tobacco and dropped them over the sides as gifts for the Invisible Men, the smoking water was taken as a sign of good fortune. For fishing and health and aU such issues of prosperity. The Missouri Review · 47 He paused, sitting in the driver's seat with his hands on the wheel. After a moment he rose up in the seat and made a sweeping gesture with his open hand. He said that aU of Children's Bay had been the property of the Iroquois, and the story of the Iroquois and the Invisible Men was the beginning of the recorded history of their city. This particular history had been written down by a French settler named John Lefreniere in 1749 and told the tale of the removal of the Iroquois from their land and the naming of the city. Their father sat back. He resumed speaking, looking straight ahead and hanging on to the steering wheel. Before Lefreniere, he said, Hannigan's Woods came right down to the bay. The entire city was solid pine and spruce and birch, and the Iroquois fished the bay and canoed out to the island with tobacco, and in the winter they went across the ice on foot and hacked holes in the surface through which they dropped the sacks of tobacco. Then Lefreniere came, and the story was the same as it was in many other places in the country. The settlers began to cut the trees for lumber and ship them out from the bay. At first they traded tobacco with the Iroquois for fish, but later...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 47-52
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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