Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

Archive for March, 2018


Sense and Nonsense: The Endako Mine Strike- 1979

Once upon a time Mother Goose laid an egg
On a hill, near a tiny hamlet which nestled
Beside a beautiful lake. The egg was not golden,
(In fact it was a dirty grey in colour) but the people
Were happy because the egg was valuable,
And this meant prosperity throughout the land.

The hamlet grew until it became known
As an “Instant Town.” The people drove daily
To the hill, to mine the molybdenum
Which was what the egg was made of. They
Worked for a company that knew a good egg
When it saw one. It already had a basket of eggs
From all parts of the world.

One day the workers decided that their share
Of the company egg was too small.
On Valentine’s Day, instead of sending out cards,
They set up pickets.

Jack and Jill worked on the hill,
They’ve not been there for ages,
Jack left town, but Jill’s around,
On strike for higher wages.

The strike which was really a non-strike
Because the company continued to operate,
Went on…..

Placer, Placer, moly reaper,
Had a crew, but couldn’t keep ‘er
It stayed within its pumpkin shell,
And mined its moly very well

The people in the town were no longer happy,
Even those who continued to work were unhappy,
There was bitterness and frustration
Throughout the land.
The small “piece of the egg” still being shipped
Became very valuable.

Little Jack Horner sat in his corner,
Eating his Co-op food pie,
He sat on his bum and felt rather dumb,
As the trucks filled with moly rolled by.

The winter snow melted, spring and summer passed,
And now it was autumn,
Soon it would be winter again,
The people gathered in the town,
Everyone agreed that, “Something should be done.”

Cries of “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,”
Were heard throughout the land
The M.L.A. valiantly jumped over the candlestick,
But the strike went on and on.

And now children, since this is a fairytale,
It MUST have a happy ending,
Therefore I shall invent one and hope it comes true….

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of pie,
Four hundred, eighty miners comin’ through the rye,
Now the strike was over, folks began to sing,
Relatives and neighbors are happy once again!

Note: the strike ended in October 1979






08 04 1977  Sense and Nonsense

Most family magazines seem to have at least one page devoted to I.Q. tests. These tests contain a list of questions for the reader to evaluate his knowledge of, or aptitude for, certain things. Each I.Q. test is related to a topic, whether it be marriage, nutrition, the energy crisis, or some other factor pertaining to space-age living/ The topic I like best is the one relating to marriage. It is also the easiest, as most of the answers are obvious. However to honestly evaluate ones’ aptitude for this oldest of institutions, one must select the answer which most closely resembles one’s own reaction to the situation in question. I sometimes prefer to lie.

For the benefit of wives and potential wives everywhere, I have compiled a marriage I.Q. test. Please select the answer (a, b, or c) which most closely resembles your reaction in these critical marriage situations. (For an honest evaluation of your wifely worth, it is best not to lie.)

  1. If your husband sniffs at the aroma of your new “Passion Powder” perfume, and remarks “That stuff smells like fly dope.” would you a) Hit him b) Kick him c) Thank him, and suggest that the Avon lady may have mixed up her orders and the stuff probably is fly dope.
  2. If he forgets your birthday would you a) Scream loudly (with tears) “You don’t love me anymore !” b) Put poison in his coffee c) Put on a sexy negligee, bake him a cake, and tell him how wonderful he is anyway.
  3. If he complains that your cooking just “isn’t as good as mother’s used to be” would you a) Tell him (sarcastically) “So go eat at your mother’s then!” b) Dump the whole mess on his head c) Get a job and pay his mother to cook for him.
  4. If he gripes that his socks don’t match, and some of them have holes in them would you a) Suggest he give you money to buy him new socks (along with the fur coat you always wanted) b) Cut holes in all his socks, so at least the holes will match, c) Stay up all night, knitting new socks and darning old ones.
  5. If he “blows his top” over the dent you put in his brand new car would you a) Blame his “neurotic worrying” over “that stupid car” for making you nervous and causing the accident to happen, b) Drive the car to the nearest cliff. Get out and place it in gear, allowing it to roll over the cliff. Go home and tell Hubby, “Now the insurance company will buy you another car, with no dents in it at all!” c) Take a course in car body repair and fix the dent yourself.
  6. If he insists that you “don’t do a thing all day” while he has to slave to bring home the bacon you, a) Not do a thing the next day, to show him how awful the place would look if you “didn’t do a thing all day” b) Say (sarcastically) “What bacon? You don’t make enough money at your crummy job to afford eggs, let alone bacon!” c) Kiss him and the kids goodnight and apply for a job on the midnight shift.

If you answered mostly a) on the above test; you are a normal wife, not great, but normal anyway. Mostly b): You are a trifle unstable to be a good wife. Your marriage may not end up in a divorce court, but it could end up in a murder trial (either yours or your husband’s) Mostly c): You passed the test with flying colours! You could have made someone a wonderful wife. It is too bad you never married.


Sept 16, 1976 Sense and Nonsense

Dear Mom: I hear on the weather news that it has been raining down there too. The weather man says this has been the wettest summer since 1955. The forecast has been so repetitious lately that they have been inventing new phrases to describe it. Did you hear the forecast on TV the other night? B.C. was to receive “moist impulses”. Sounded a little better than, “cloudy with showers”.

Do you remember the summer of 1955? That was the summer I ventured out into the wide wonderful world to pick strawberries in the Fraser Valley. I remember my embarrassment when I stepped down from the bus at Aldergrove in the pouring rain. My old cardboard suitcase fell apart, scattering undies and other clothing across the wet pavement. The bus driver was very kind.  He didn’t even smile as he helped me pick them up. Yes, it did rain a lot that summer. I made very little money in the strawberry patch. The girls at the next farm made more money than we did picking rotten berries and throwing them away.

I am sure it has rained more this summer than it did in 1955. Our garden has been saturated all summer. The vegetables have huge leaves, long roots and very little in between. The lettuce is doing well, although I am reluctant to remove the heads for fear of decapitating those ugly little animals they call slugs. They are everywhere. I wonder where they are during a hot, dry summer? Does the sun shrink them to miniature size?

We received a letter from my brother (your son), He said it is disheartening to watch the hay gradually change color from a glossy green to a dull black in the fields. The same thing is happening here. The only good hay I have seen were a few bales on display at the bank the other day. They were sitting out there where anybody could see and touch them. I suppose they hadn’t gotten around to placing them in a bank vault, yet. I thought it may have been safer to leave money lying around this year – ha ha!

I wonder if the rain has caused the epidemic of deafness around here. A lot of people have been saying, “huh?” “pardon me?” and “repeat that please”. I had it for one week. The doctor took one look and whispered “ugly wax build-up!” At least I think that is what he said. He prescribed ear drops three times a day. I discovered that applying ear drops successfully is not a solitary endeavour – one needs a friend. Sometimes it is hard to find a friend three times a day, especially at 2:00 a.m. when you remember.

Love from Your daughter


1974 10 17

Being poor is “in” now or at least the semblance of this condition, Not too long ago big cars, colour T.V., and expensive clothes were status symbols. The all Canadian dream was to have a nice house in the suburbs and the ultimate was a swimming pool in the backyard. The Jones, whom everyone envied, also had a two-car garage, and a patio. Their house gleamed with chrome, glass and arborite furnishings. Their cars were either Cadillacs or Lincolns or sometimes one of each.

Now rich people drive economy cars, or better yet ride bicycles. They often have a pickup truck and camper for vacations but if they own a big gas-eating car they hide it in the garage. They still live in town but the place they brag about is their country home. This is often made of logs and is unwired and unplumbed. A big stone fireplace and a wood burning cook-stove provide heat in this rustic environment. An outhouse with its quarter-moon silhouette cut in the door proudly beckons outside. Its only concession to modern times is the toilet paper in its holder, instead of the traditional catalogue.

Worn out clothing and “depressed” furniture are also desirable nowadays. All the well dressed female needs for a complete wardrobe are a coat or jacket, and a pair of shoes. The rest consists of fourteen pairs of blue jeans, purchased in as many years and diligently patched and sewn. A few shirts picked up at Salvation Army rummage sales add to the poverty stricken look.

“Depressed ” furniture is old, beat up, ready-for-the-dump  looking, chairs and tables. If you have an unmarred, new looking table that you are tired of you can change the finish to the modern look with only a little effort and patience. With different sized chisels, you can simulate ancient gouges. You should rub dark-coloured dyes in these marks to make them look as if they have been there for years. Another handy tool is a beer bottle cap. This makes circular scratches.

You need to “age” them as new looking scratches are definitely not “in”. If you are lucky, as I am, you have genuinely depressed furniture. Every dent and scratch on my coffee table has a history There is a glass ring and three antique-looking cigarette burns. This table may someday be a family heirloom. Three children have been raised around it (and under it and on top of it.) I wouldn’t part with it for love nor money. (How much money?)

A lot of people who don’t have to are canning fruits and vegetables like granny used to do. Poor people cannot do this though as the jars cost too much. They have to settle for buying canned goods in the store or else using their home freezers, to preserve produce.

Well I was planning on buying a nice dress to wear at Christmas time but I am wondering what the neighbours will think. Maybe if I rip it a little and then sew it in such a way that it is noticeable I can get away with it. With a little luck, they may think that I picked it up at a thrift shop or else found it at the village dump.


1974 10 10 Sense and Nonsense

It Is now October which brings to mind that this is the month for two big days, Thanksgiving and Halloween. Some months have no special days in them but October is better than most with two. Anyway both occasions call for a pumpkin. The inside pulp to be made up into the traditional pumpkin pies and the outside rind to be carved out into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween night.

A lady in Ashcroft has grown what must be a record size pumpkin. It weighed around 80 pounds. One would have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to make up that much pumpkin into pies. It would make a dandy jack-o-lantern though. You could use a power saw to carve out the face and build a bonfire inside the pumpkin to light it up. The kids could roast wieners and marshmallows through the eye, nose and mouth holes.

This pumpkin weighed more than the lady who grew it, as she is a small person weighing 73 pounds. It Is possible that she could make a small home for herself In it such as Peter’s wife did In the nursery rhyme. I don’t know what the housing situation is like in Ashcroft but if It is typical, a large pumpkin would be more than adequate. She could have it wired and have plumbing installed.

Town zoning laws could be sticky though if she wanted to set it up on a residential lot. She would probably have to mount wheels on it and set it up in a trailer court, I think if I were her I would plant a whole row of pumpkins next year and rent them out. They would make novel motel units. People would probably detour for miles to spend a night in one.

I have even thought of a name for her motel. She could call it Peter’s Place.

Being a woman, her name probably isn’t Peter but she could call herself that for advertising purposes. It is possible, of course, that she is married to a man named Peter anyway,

There would be a number of advantages to living in a round house as opposed to the traditional square type. In fact, architects have been toying with the idea quite a lot lately. There would be no corners to collect dust and ugly wax-buildup. One could have wall to wall braided rug throughout. A circular design would fit in with the scenery better too. I understand a curve is more predominate in nature than a straight line. I am certain that a pumpkin house would blend in well almost anywhere.

This area is a bit too far north for growing record pumpkins out in the garden. They would grow well in a greenhouse though. We are not pumpkin eaters ourselves so have never tried it. I think I shall plant one seed in a corner of the greenhouse next year. This corner once grew an extremely large dandelion plant.. We didn’t realize it was there as it hid behind a tomato plant all summer. When my husband discovered it, it had one leaf approximately a yard long,

In fact it was far healthier than any of the other things in the greenhouse. I am wondering if some of the stuff we sprayed on the tomatoes inadvertently caused its’ gigantic growth? It might be similar to the potion used in some of the old mad scientist movies. In the movies the plants and animals achieving gigantism also became intelligent and developed evil tendencies. Our dandelion developed no such traits, and if it became intelligent, it hid it well.

But a pumpkin is a different kind of vegetable. I should write that lady in Ashcroft and find out whether or not her pumpkin was friendly.


Sense and Nonsense, August 1, 1974.(from archives of Nechako Chronicle)

An American expedition has recently been financed to enter the bush in search of the legendary Sasquatch, The Sasquatch is supposed to reside a lot near Harrison Lakes, BC but also has been spotted near Blue River and in Tweedsmuir Park. There have been many stories of people having frightening experiences with these large hairy creatures. Although officially they do not exist, scientists have taken plaster casts of their footprints and a slightly blurry film has seen taken of one, and examined very carefully with no proof that it is a hoax.

It seems to me that either there is such a creature or else some people have gone to a lot of trouble to fool us. Apparently the footprints are amazing in themselves. They indicate a creature built a lot like us only much bigger. If they were made by an ordinary person with false feet carrying a heavy load, the scientists could spot this by the weight distribution in the footprints.

Of course people have gone to many lengths In the past for a private laugh. We studied the Piltdown-Man in Social Studies at school. Now, I understand they have learned that the Piltdown-Man was man-made. Some jokester welded the skull together out of various animal bones and planted it in a pit in England.

One thing is certain; if there is such a creature as a Sasquatch he resembles us more than any other animal. He also must be pretty cagey to avoid being captured so far, or of even being shot by a careless hunter.

If the people in that expedition are successful in bringing a Sasquatch back home, I wonder what they will do with him? Will he be treated as an animal or as the intelligent being that he obviously is? It seems to me that he must have certain rights.

If he is captured in Canada he must become a Canadian citizen. Legally he can protest being taken back across the line to the United States. He should have access to a lawyer immediately, preferably one who can speak the language and explain to him his inborn rights as a native Canadian. He is also in the enviable position of being a member of a minority group. If he is smart he will suggest going back home to the bush and organizing a group from his tribe to represent Sasquatches everywhere.

The Sasquatches in the States are called Big-foots and I suppose our Sasquatch could join them or not, depending on how patriotic he was. Actually, I believe he’d be better off to stick to Canadians only and allow the Bigfoot to start their own organization. Ottawa, I am sure, would be more sympathetic to his cause that way.

Sasquatches, if they exist, have definitely been discriminated against in the past. Their villages, I am sure, are far below modern standards. I doubt very much if they have hydro or plumbing and I believe their education system must be inferior to ours. (It is possible, of course, that they could teach us a thing or two.)

Every Sasquatch, who is old enough, should be able to vote in our elections. They should think about nominating a member of their group to run for parliament. Perhaps they could hire a public relations man. With subtle advertising on radio and TV, an intelligent, politically-minded member of their tribe could someday become Prime Minister of Canada.


1974 Sense and Nonsense

It is hot today and I would like to open the back door. But the swallows, who prefer our place to Capistrano, would consider this an invitation to fly in. This wouldn’t be too bad but they are very impolite and want to leave as soon as they arrive. They also have terrible memories and forget the way they came in. One could develop a nervous twitch or two whilst trying to houseclean with birds darting about one’s head. It could also be a futile thing to house-clean if they stayed long enough. Consequently I encourage them to leave early by waving a broom frantically in their direction while herding them towards the door. We definitely must get a screen-door for that entrance!

Now that the sun is finally shining down on us the mosquitoes and black-flies are coming out in droves. Since they seem to be late this year, I believe that they are trying to make up for lost time and some are taking double loads. I spied one mosquito in our bedroom the other night. His cargo tank was so overloaded that he had a terrible time getting up any altitude. His airspeed was so slow that I had no trouble downing him with one blow, I was then so be-spattered with my own blood, I needed a small bath.

One hears so much lately about how insecticides are ruining our environment. I feel guilty every time I spray the house with the stuff. I understand that now we can rid our landscape of pesky bugs and still keep things in ecological balance. You just raise bigger bugs that eat the smaller ones. There is an ad in one magazine for praying mantis larvae. You can raise your own praying mantises and when they get big enough they’ll eat every mosquito In the vicinity. Who knows they might also make good pets and one may well become very attached to them.

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