Saturday, October 22, 2005

Something to Bear in Mind

After returning from a late hockey game in Summerland the other night, I pulled up my driveway looking to see if Skye would commence barking. I seem to have trained Skye to sit down in front of the sliding doors and wait for me to get out of the car whenever I return home after dark. This particular evening however, Skye did not come to the window. As it was 1:15 am, I thought this was a little odd.

Not giving it much thought, I got out of the car, only to hear what I thought was Tracey struggling to open our front window. Calling into the darkness, I waited to hear Tracey respond...she did not. Right about this time, I realised that the noise that I had identified as the window sliding open, was not emanating from the window at all. Rather, the sound was being created much closer to me. As pieces of bark fell to the ground, not more than a few strides from where I stood, I cold chill ran up my spine. As I looked up into the tree beside me, a large furry creature and I locked eyes. Hugging the trunk of the tree closest to our house was a bear. In what little time I had to look up at the large beast, I knew it was no more than 8 to 10 feet above the ground.

In World Record time I was back in the seat of my car with the door closed. I turned on the headlights and proceeded to watch the bear descend the tree, sniff the ground where I had stood and leisurely walk across the lawn and through the trees bordering our property. Once I was convinced that the bear was well out of range, I got out of the car. Despite being a little weak in the knees, I opened my hockey bag on the front step and laid my gear out to air out.

As I opened the door I noticed Skye sitting on the futon in front of the fire. 'Hopeless dog!' I thought to myself.

Skye and I did go outside with a powerful flashlight, but the bear had vacated the property. At this point Skye did have her hair standing on end and her tail fully erect. She sniffed the ground around the tree where the bear had stood, and growled softly.

The next morning I told Tracey of the bear incident and she began to laugh. Poor Skye. Not 15 minutes before I returned the previous night, Skye had been barking like crazy, wanting to come up to our bedroom. Having very little patience for a barking dog at 1:15 am, Skye had been forced to lay on the futon and 'SHUT UP'.

Therefore, so that all could sleep in peace, Skye had been denied the opportunity to save me from the rendevous with the bear.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I can hear my grandpa rustling...

Well...for those who have not heard, the public school teachers of BC have gone on strike. After contemplating my options, weighing my alternatives, I picked up a picket sign last Friday and walked the sidewalks around Summerland.

As my feet shuffled down the concrete path, and vehicles hummed past me, I gave a long sigh. After growing up in right-wing Rosenort, where the words 'union' or 'strike' were the most vile swearwords, I wondered what my grandpa Dueck might have thought of my actions. I surmized that he probably shifted from side to side in his sleep, but I stoppped short of assuming that he made a full turn.

Earlier that morning, just after slipping the plackard over my head, I proceeded to listen as the previous shift of picketers told of the marvelous support they had experienced. They spoke excitedly as they recounted how many times they had seen people toot their horns and give them the thumbs up. Energized, and less fearful of the rebuke I had assumed would plague my morning, I set out down the street. I had not taken more than 10 steps down the sidewalk, when I was startled by the sound of a honking horn. Realizing that I too could now share in the warm and supporting atmosphere of my new hometown, I wheeled around, ready to bask in the glow of justification. Behind the wheel of a GMC extended cab, sat a burly man sporting a jean jacket and a cap that sat high on his head. I noticed his bushy beard, but not for long, as his extended middle finger suddenly filled the frame. He honked again, and made the up and down motion with his extended digit. This was not the support I had anticipated.

Back to my grandpa...

As I walked, still reeling from the sign language of the GMC man, I thought about Rosenort. I thought about the town in which I grew up, and how I never would have dreamed that I would walk a picket line. I wondered if I was perhaps the only member of my extended family that had ever taken job action. What would my grandpa think of me?

To answer the question I thought about what I would tell him of my actions, and how i might justifyy or explain my motives. As I formulated an arguement, I was reminded time and again why so many of my childhood mentors hated unions. I could hear them in conversation: 'Troublemakers' 'weak' 'stupid' were the terms that immediately came to mind. 'Always protecting the weakest link' was a line that I heard before. I paused at this line for a while as it tumbled in my brain. 'The weakest link'. I thought back to my employment experiences in Rosenort, and more particularly, I asked myself, "Who was the weakest link?" In short order a name came to mind. For a whole variety of reasons, there was a person who undoubtedly fit the criteria. He constantly botched things up, fought with his boss, displayed his deep dissatisfaction, and openly slammed the very people that signed his paycheck. If there was a person to fire, a person to cut from the team, this was he. In the Rosenort spectrum, he was the person who required protection, he was the union-type in a world void of a labour movement. So was this person fired? Did the very people that loathed unions step up to the plate and axe his ass? Nope.

He worked for years stewing in anger and I am certain he still holds his job to this day. As I see it, he was protected. Not by a union, but by the church he attended, the hockey team he coached, and the family to which he belonged. If he was to be fired, the ripple that would swell through the commmunity would be worse than the slow drain of keeping him on the job. From a certain perspective, it seems to me that although Rosenort does not support the union movement, it is a union. 'Rosenort - Supporting the Weakest Link'. Goodnight Grandpa.

labour camp

labour camp
Originally uploaded by mtplanet.
Elijah was recently sent to a labour camp run by the government. We are trying to get him out.