Kissing through a handkerchief

Edward Byrne has freely transposed the sonnets of Louise Labé (1522-1566) and Guido Cavalcanti (shown at left, circa 1255-1300) for audaciously modern renderings. REVIEW

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#76 500 swallows are hard to swallow

February 19th, 2018

Hi Darlin’

DANG, but it is cold!  Frost on the branches but the pussywillows don’t seem to care. I often feel they are the only promise a person can really trust. Hang on, they say, Spring is coming.

So, there’s another big news story about a high school shooting in the U.S. People say the authorities were forewarned about the whacko being dangerous. It’s big news. I can understand why all those families are so upset.

After more than five years of making trouble, the problematic neighbour we all called “that arstle from Airdrie” sold his place here and moved up to the Arrow Lakes region. We felt good about that until we learned that he shot and killed an 85-year-old neighbour and then offed himself.

So, I wrote a letter to the Chief Superintendent of the RCMP and said, basically, “the force” had no reason to be proud of the way they had handled the many and various explosive situations this arstle kicked off here. He could have been stopped here, maybe put in hospital and given treatment for whatever it was that blew up in his brain from time to time.to time to time.

I got a letter in reply, then a visit from two Mounties. That’ll get the neighbours busy over their tea and coffee cups… Oh, the cops were at the old woman’s place for at least an hour, wonder what ‘n’ hell she did…  They told me all about privacy rules and explained in some detail the how and why of non-occurance and we made nice, gossipy talk and they left and nothing is changed. I still think it was mishandled repeatedly.

But whatever I feel about it won’t bring back that 85-year-old grandpa. Almost a year ago a neighbour, out walking her dog, came across an absolute heap of dead birds just dumped on the side of a seldom-used road. So, one thing led to another thing which led to something else and some frozen samples were sent to the Conservation guy who, in turn, sent them to the provincial vet.

There were more than FIVE HUNDRED little dead birds in a heap beside a cardboard box which contained feathers and some grass clippings. Time passed. Then more time passed. Every now and again I’d fire off an e-mail asking if there was any progress identifying the birds and what killed them. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we get an answer. Or what will have to pass for an answer.

They were barn swallows probably died of “fumigation”. Gee, we can’t even think of where it could have happened, let alone why or who. Barn swallows.  It is just so totally grotesque. And scary to think someone with that mentality was or is walking around our village, in contact with our cats, dogs, and let’s not overlook our little kids.

And now there’s a big kerfuffle about the situation in Saskatchewan where a farmer shot a Cree man in the head and was then found Not Guilty. Many people busy playing the race card. I feel heart sorry for the mother of the dead guy. I lost my youngest in October and I know what an aching void that leaves. Apparently the RCMP acted like dolts when they went to tell her that her kid was gone.

Meanwhile, someone should whisper in Justin Trudeau’s ear that he should never pass up the chance to shut up. His comments on the jury verdict were off-side and even though I have long thought him a twerp in expensive shoes, I was amazed to hear him come out with such blether.

Now Premier Horgan is going to fund a new bridge to replace the Patullo. Oh, good, the whole province gets to pay for a bridge for the Lower Mainland! And yes, we’ll smile as we do it because, obviously, it’s a feel-good thing to try to encourage us all to forget Site C.

As I understand it, we are going to flood prime agricultural land to turn out electricity we don’t need and can’t sell for more than it costs to produce so that Alberta can have lots of electricity to help them haul out the tar sands which they will then send to what they will insist on calling “tidewater” via a pipeline we don’t want so it can be loaded on ships we won’t welcome which will then try to squeeze their mammoth bulks through and between the islands, rocks, and reefs of Juan de Fuca strait…

Excuse me, I seem to have lost the line of logic and reason in all of this. And what is this “tidewater” jargon?  I’ll be eighty-years-old in August and I’ve only recently heard of “tidewater”.  Dear Gawd, have the mainlanders all gone nuts? There’s a Vancouver Island term for when people start to act, talk, or think a certain way… we say they have “gone doo-lally”. It doesn’t explain anything. But when there’s craziness all round, you need some kind of crazy expression to make sense of it all.

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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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