Evolution of a B.C. trilogy

“Brett Grubisic’s (left) River Bend Trilogy novels are set in a fictional town on the Fraser River, based on Mission, B.C. where he grew up. Here, we learn other ways the titles are linked.” FULL STORY

#19 Ideas are like noses

November 24th, 2014

Raining again. I find it interesting that in a place like Tahsis, with as much rain as we get, few people bother with umbrellas. That might have something to do with the wind we get, and the tendency of umbrellas to turn inside out.

I’m not a fan of brollies, or bumbershoots, or whatever name you want to call them. because the spokes of the damned things seem aimed at my eyes.  Not my brollie, you understand, it’s other peoples’ brollies which try to gouge me.

Brollies are a lot unlike small children. It’s “other peoples” who drive us to distraction.  Most of the kids in this village are nice kids, the kind you want to scoop up for a fast hug, the kind who make you want to wink at them just to see them wink back. But into every bowl of butter, a fly. Before you can have a silver lining you have to have a cloud. And in this town, we have one who is such a total pain in the face that some have even suggested we post “no children allowed” at public meetings and townhall get-togethers.

I like kids. I enjoyed my own and I am daffy over my grandchildren. Many of the kids in this end-of-the-road hamlet call me “grandma” and I get a lot of hugs from small ones and even teens.  But… ah, well… then there’s this undeniably pretty little girl who can make me daydream of mayhem. And it isn’t HER fault!!  Kids aren’t born knowing how to be socialized.

So her mom and dad take her to every public gathering. They walk in the door with her and then one heads east and one heads west and the kid might as well be on her own. She’s very energetic (Aren’t they all?!). She is also very loud. And you’d think she was an orphan. Neither parent seems aware that their darling is disrupting everything.

At a townhall meeting last Thursday night we were trying to have a halfways sane discussion of economic development possibilities and … and there she was, under our table, trying to untie peoples’ shoe laces and yelling. So “grandma” blew. I did. I blew. Dragged her out from under the table and roared, “Go find your mom and dad and drive them crazy! Leave the rest of us alone!”

Wah-wah, off she went. Wah-wah. Dad glared, scooped her up, patted and stroked and smooched. She wailed even louder. So finally, blessedly, they left, taking her with them.

The down side to it all is now there are people suggesting we put a “no children allowed” rule in effect for all public meetings. And that’s not fair to the three or four other teeny-weenies in town who get taken to events and who don’t act like monkeys released from a zoo.

I could take my DOG to a public meeting and she’d be better behaved!!

But, I admit, I’m not exactly Little Suzie Sunshine these days. Maybe it’s the lack of light, maybe it’s the rain, maybe it’s that horrible cold snap, or maybe it’s because this morning there was snow on the tops of the mountains, but I suspect I’m in a bit of a bad mood.  Hey, I take my vitamin B3, and my other vitamins and I even take cranberry tablets but…

That townhall meeting and the possibilities of economic development put me in a bad mood. It hit me that we were still talking about greater or lesser types of resource extraction. We can’t sit around waiting for someone to come from Outside and set up…what? Something which will employ some people?

Someone said, well, hey, we get an incredible crop of chanterelle and pine mushrooms, maybe we can… and right away I saw this caravan of vans and busses coming in, hordes of people, many of them with rakes, spreading out to “harvest” our mushrooms so that inside of three years there wouldn’t be a ‘shroom to be found by any of the folks who live here fulltime.

What do we have? We have a deep water port. Unfortunately, it’s on land owned by Western Forest Products but I’m sure they’d be willing to negotiate, they aren’t using it and haven’t used it for years. There are no more mills making dimensional lumber to be shipped out of here.

We have fish. And far too many tourists show up, dragging big tupperware yachts behind their expensive four-by-four crew cab pickup trucks, eager to catch our fish. More resource extraction.

Someone suggested we encourage hunting. Well, yeah, and then what, kiss goodbye to the elk herd?  Say sayonara to the black bears?

I had an idea a few years ago… plant five or ten acres of hazelnut trees, twenty feet apart, then around the roots of those trees inject truffle spores. If mushrooms flourish here, you can be sure truffles will, too.  And how much are they selling for these days?

We’ve got MILES of prime and second-growth forest, but trying to navigate through the labyrinth of private companies set up to “assist” with this, that, or the next damned thing would have cost nearly one hundred thousand dollars before this village could even begin to start a “carbon sequestration” project.

That’s no accident. The provincial government set it up that way, and their friends will get rich before anyone sees any benefit to that programme or idea.

Hey, how about closed containment fish tanks with their own sewage system piping the dirty water and poop to a commercial greenhouse. That way, when you shipyou’re your market-sized Kokanee, you can also ship out tommy-toes and cucumberries…

You know what?  Ideas are like noses.  Everyone has one.

Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.

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