Yucho Chow re-discovered

“Author and curator, Catherine Clement (left) has won B.C.’s top award for historical writing for her book about an early Vancouver photographer whose work was almost forgotten.” FULL STORY

#28 Potluck diplomacy

February 12th, 2015

Okay, so mixing spaghetti with herring doesn’t sound appetizing, but it could be a recipe for success.

I went to the Over-50 pot luck last night. That’s the Tahsis Seniors group. There are a number of things the group has organized in which I do not participate at all. I don’t play pool, I don’t play shuffleboard, I don’t play darts, I don’t play bridge, or crib, or poker, I don’t knit, crochet, tat or quilt, but I do enjoy the pot luck suppers.

At first it miffed me that there are some who never bring anything with them except their huge appetites but then I decided I wasn’t going to let a few stingy-mingers ruin my good time! Some of them even take plastic containers in which to lug home left-overs.  I’ve never seen people do that before but, hey, whatever tilts your kilt, I guess.

I made spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce.  My neighbour drove me over there, he doesn’t like the idea of me driving at night.  I suspect he isn’t keen on the idea of me driving during the day, either, but at least in daylight the traffic on the road can see me coming.

Had a great time.  Fern made a macaroni and cheese casserole with ham, someone took turkey and gravy, someone took mashed spuds, there was a big bowl of stuffing, there was sliced ham and something green.  I’m not sure what it was , it looked like jello with carrot grated into it.  I wasn’t sure if it was a dessert or a side dish. I suspect there would be most of it for those with the plastic containers to take home with the “leftovers”.

I had help transferring the spaghetti from my pot to a warming dish, and when I went to get the pot to bring it back home with me, some nice person had washed it for me.

We laughed, we joked, we teased, we ate our faces off and managed to find solutions to most of the worlds’ most pressing problems.

Maybe the UN and the federal government should try pot luck suppers instead of those too-formal meetings they have.

Or they could just come to Tahsis when we have our potlucks, and we’d solve their problems for them.

*

Right now we are getting hammered. TV is talking about sub-tropical incursions, about Hawaiian Punch, about the Tropical Express. They are warning us of near-record rainfall and high wind warnings. Yikes. That means it must be the coming of the herring season.  It’s like one of the laws of nature. Herring season has got to have absolutely horrible weather.

First Nations on the west coast of the Island want herring season shut down again this year. Fisheries thinks the stocks have recovered enough to allow “harvesting” and First Nations say, no, they haven’t.

I think I’ll go with the people who live here and have done so for twelve thousand years.  When they were alone in their care and handling of herring, there were enormous runs, the bays and fjords were jammed with silver bodies and the water was milky with the spawn and milt.

Now?

Not so much!

We’re pretty good at protesting and even contributing money for the protection of panda bears and elephants. We’re great where it’s tigers or koala bears, but we’re not making enough noise in defence of things like herring and ling cod.

A few years ago Fisheries opened the west coast of the Island to the entire herring fleet. They did this conveniently forgetting their own quota and territory formula which dictated which boats could fish where and for how much.

The reason they changed their own rules was that the herring on the east coast of the Island were so small they were swimming through the webbing. Oh, well, gee, guess you better go over to the other side and fish there.

Friends of mine watched the slaughter and wept. For reasons I will never understand Fisheries allows (and some say encourages) the removal of krill from the Strait of Georgia. Krill are tiny shrimp-like critters and are the basic food of baby fish. It takes a mountain of them to weigh a metric tonne.

Remove thirty million metric tonnes and you’ve deprived the young fish of food. So, of course, they’re going to be small and puny, they’re starving! Krill get added to the pellets fed to feedlot fish. It makes the flesh red and appetizing-looking instead of its actual gray colour. Oh, and it’s really good when used in the production of lipstick.

So Fisheries sent all the herring boats to the west coast of the Island and the herring haven’t recuperated since.

It doesn’t take long to negatively impact a species but it takes a great deal of time for it to recover.

I could be persuaded to make spaghetti again if the people who make the decisions about herring would care for a little potluck diplomacy.

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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