Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Healing, Ruttgers Birchmont Inn, Lake Bemidji, Minnesota

   Nicky Parks so lovely and perky was standing by the cabin path weeping. She dabbed her eyes as the Quicksilver girls approached. Averil Quicksilver took Nicky's arm and spoke quietly to her. They knew Nicky was the owner's daughter, who was waiting tables for the summer.
   She told the Quicksilver girls that her boyfriend, Chris Cobalt, had just been diagnosed with a rare form of blood leukemia. Chris would die before the football season started in 4 weeks, the disease was deadly. Nicky wrung her hands.
   Chris was a sophomore sensation at Bemidji State College; his freshman year he had been a star, and the University of Minnesota had tried to lure Chris away. But Chris stayed true to Bemidji State. Now before the season started, Chris would be dead. 
   The Quicksilver girls liked Nicky and wanted to help, as they were both gifted and knew healing ways. "We are in cabin 19." Elina, the older Quicksilver said. "Bring Chris to us this evening when you finish serving dinner."
   Elina held up her hand. "No promises, just bring Chris to us, cabin 19."
   Nicky was beside herself. What to do? She called Chris who was surrounded by distraught family and friends. Chris trusted Nicky and he agreed to come to the Inn at nine o'clock.
   That evening had been stormy, but when the twilight deepened, the skies cleared and the lake calmed as Nicky and Chris walked to cabin 19. The Quicksilver girls were on the screened porch. They sat Nicky down on the porch with a glass of iced tea, and then took Chris in the cabin. The curtains were drawn and Nicky could not see inside. Nicky sipped her tea and relaxed, feeling drowsy. She was aware of humming and a glow emanating from the cabin, then Nicky fell asleep.
   In the black of the night with just the walkway lights on, Nicky awoke as she felt Chris's hand on her shoulder. It was past midnight. Behind him were the Quicksilver girls looking down at her. Nicky started to speak, but Chris took her hand and they left. Nothing was said.
   Nicky wanted to know everything, but Chris told her he would call her after his morning hospital appointment. Chris refused to discuss what the Quicksilvers had done for him, or to him. No high hopes.
   The next morning Nicky sat with her cell phone. Chris went to the hospital at eight. It was now after ten. She felt the odd hope draining away, her heart heavy, the tears forming. Then her phone rang.
   It was Chris, something odd had happened. And the doctor was sending him down state to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The rare leukemia disorder was gone, not a trace.
   Nicky raced to the Ruttgers Inn and to cabin 19. But the Quicksilver girls had checked out, even though they had planned to stay for two weeks.
   Chris came back with a clean bill of health; his miraculous cure was unexplained. When sick he had taken to swimming every day at Lake Bemidji, in ancient times an Ojibwe Healing Lake. The gossips talked, perhaps it was the miraculous lake waters.
   That football season Chris had a breakout year at quarterback and Bemidji State won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship. Chris and Nicky said nothing, perhaps it was the lake waters. They told no one about the Quicksilvers.
    What if the Quicksilvers were charlatans, just frauds? Then the Ojibwe Legend might be true. Perhaps  the Lake Bemidji waters were magical.
    Today Lake Bemidji and the Ruttger's Birchmont Inn flourish.

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