Long story and most people cut me off in disbelief but if you have time for a story Grandpa Simpson would be proud of and since work is literally so slow I'm completely bored since Christmas....
A longggggg time ago, maybe 97ish or so because it was not long after I bought my first sea kayak, I was paddling just off of Robinson's Island, which creates a nice protective bay off my house, I met a guy named Mike (No not Matt)on the tiny island's ocean side beach who was having a hard time launching in the bit of surf that was on. His significant other or friend (never did become clear) had given up and was sitting on the shore while Mike was going to paddle back to the Outfitters about a km further back for help and admit that they lied about their paddling experience.
I was/am friends with the particular outfitter and I knew he'd totally freak out as he is normally extremely paranoid about 'renting' vs. selling guided tours. So, I tried to think of a better solution to save them some nasty, albeit well deserved wrath.
Because they were on the narrow point of sand extending out to a small channel with a sandy barachois on the other side, I offered to help them carry their kayaks over the sand to the protected bay side where they could launch without any waves bothering them. It would then be a simple matter for them to leave out through the channel and pretty much avoid the small but frothy waves that were breaking on the shoreline only.
They thought this was a great idea and he even convinced his partner to paddle around some more in the protected bay. I stuck around and played tour guide for a bit after deciding I had better hang out until they managed the eventual ocean section again, back to the Outfitters. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon so this suited me quiet fine.
By the time we looped around past my place, we had shared a lot of laughs. Mike's partner was quiet (cold I think) but Mike was extremely witty and had a lot of funny stories about all the local mannerisms he observed during their stay. Slow drivers, directions involving building descriptions instead of street names, driving his BMW convertible too close behind a manure spreader, etc. Anywhoo, I felt comfortable enough with them to invite them up the bank for a hot drink. His friend says yes almost before I finished my sentence.
He met my wife and we all had a great chat over tea and coffee on the deck. He was on vacation and had been visiting some family in Massachusettes (I think) when they decided they would drive up the eastern coast into Canada for something to do. He asked for my address (old fashioned mail address back then) as he wanted to stay in touch and send a thank you. Nobody ever actually does stay in touch in these situations but I thought sure, why not.
To shorten the story up, I paddled him back to North Rustico and said goodbye. They were late for their rental return by now but I called my friend before leaving the house and told him that they were safe at my place and made sure they didn't get charged a late return fee.
About 6-7 weeks later I got a letter from Mike thanking me for my help and the hospitality and he said he would really enjoy having a photograph of Sharon and I sent to him for collection of vacation pictures. It just so happened that earlier that summer we had a friend take professional photos of us and the dog at the close to the very same beach. We sent him one and that was that.
Several months later, I received a package in the mail. It contained a matted Simpson version of the photo we had sent off. I thought my brother, another avid Simpson fan must have had it made. Then I noticed the signature. Now very puzzled, I looked at the return address again. It was from a Mike in California which made no sense as I had already pretty much forgotten about kayaker Mike and I don't know if he ever mentioned where he was actually living.
It was Sharon who made the connection around the name. Then the lightbulb came on but how and why and could it be real??? I VCRed the next weekly episode of the Simpsons so I could check the credits to see if he could possibly have been crew or something to have a connection to THE Matt Groening. Well it didn't take very long to see his name pop up because we immediately saw "Episode written by Mike Scully and....".
I think he later went on to become Executive producer. We wrote a very HUGE thank you letter back to him but the letter was returned to us with a "no such resident at address" type stamp. I suspect he moved or being a psuedo-celebrity, decided it unwise to use a real return address. Can't remember if it was the same one I sent the photo too. I never heard from him again.
I should also mention that the Simpson style picture even included our cat, which had taken a shining to him. This was pretty impressive because the cat was not in the original photograph.