Honestly, you cannot make this stuff up…..

It was an ordinary day…or so it seemed in the beginning. Sal had to do a day at the post office. I undertook some ‘wood work’. Normal stuff.

But, we had some ‘twists’, this 30th day of August in the year of our Lord, 2021.

As Sal approached the community dock near the floating post office, she spotted a brown bottle floating. It was (and still is) clearly an ‘old’ bottle. Style, colour, definitely antique. She slowed, picked it up and looked at it. Inside it were notes. She was intrigued but decided to wait until she got home to ‘share’ the discovery with me.

In the meantime, she, of course, goes to be the postmaster-of-the-floating-post office. It is not a huge job but it needs doing and she does it now and then – about once every two months. She starts at 11:30, does a few chores, cleans up, chats with the locals and waits for the mail plane. It usually arrives around 12:30 – sometime between 12:00 and 1:00. A late arrival would be 2:00. When the plane comes, she gets the mail, packages, sorts it all, presents the pilot with the outgoing mail and then tidies up and leaves. In the summer, she is often waylaid for a few minutes by the tourists that take the mail plane flight. They might buy a postcard, some stamps, a copy of my or another’s book. A little Q&A. Ten minutes.

Today, the mail plane was very late. 3:00 pm. That’s Miller time for many but she, of course, stayed until the work had been done and the tourists seen to. The plane was late this time because of the tourists. The three passengers were comprised of one young woman and her two male companions who were fellows with dwarfism. They took more time than most passengers because they used modified Segways that the pilot loaded and unloaded at each stop. He then walked the community ‘area’ with his guests and they zipped about. Our ‘town centre’ is not easy to get about at the best of times. The roadway is rocky and gutted and at a 20 degree hardscrabble slope. The ramp on the dock was maybe 25 degrees. The two Segways went up that ramp with ease. The girl and the pilot hurried after to keep up. Sal watched as the intrepid foursome went exploring. And, of course, they took longer than usual before disembarking. Sal got home after 4:00.

After Sal arrived home, we opened the bottle. In that almost-quart-sized glass there were six or seven rolled up notes tied with coloured string. The bottle had been a tribute to a son who had been lost at sea. There was a phone number to call if the bottle was found. I called. Darlene answered. She sounded my age, maybe a bit younger. She and her family were from Alberta but launched the bottle from just South of Campbell River. It had been thrown in the sea only a month ago. It went North. She and her husband hoped it might go to Mexico where her son had drowned. We will re-seal the bottle and send it on it’s way. Darlene blessed us over the phone.

We get mice now and then. They occasionally try to get in the house but invasion is rare and a blitz on ’em immediately occurs. We do not have mice in the house. Instead, we get mice in the food shed. That is why everything in the food shed is in airtight containers (read: mouseproof). Sal is the epitome of courage, bravery, fearlessness and death defiance in most things from wild animals to raging storms at sea to climbing towers. But mice terrify her. She went into the food shed last evening to get potatoes. Her path takes her 12 feet down a narrow hall. She grabbed a few pommes de terre and stepped back. And, with horror, discovered herself treading softer than she expected. Maybe a slight squirm was also felt. A blood curdling scream echoed across the island, down the channel and could be heard ten miles away. My heart leapt. Sal came out of the shed very fast, eyes wide, she hissed in a ghastly whisper, “MOUSE!” as she went by me like an Olympian sprinter.

She had killed it. Sal the intrepid had killed a mouse with her lightly clad foot. Crushed it like the cartoon Godzilla did the deer (Monty Python). Death by shoe in the foodshed. I presented the carcass to the sacrificial altar that doubles as the Raven feeding corner of our deck railing. The universe accepted it. Well, a raven took it on behalf of the universe. Sal began dinner a bit later after drinking wine for a while. I think it was a dinner missing a few ingredients but I did not say anything.

Hey, I’m not stupid. That woman is lethal even when not trying! And today had definitely been trying.

10 thoughts on “Honestly, you cannot make this stuff up…..

  1. Having been given a guided tour of all these places, makes the reading even more enjoyable. Wrt mouse, glad the reading is from a great distance!…
    Hope the wine calmed Sal’s soul.


    • She’s pretty funny about freaking out over mice…..once she leapt so high she landed on her computer and smashed it. We have ‘country mice’ and they are almost cute…not like city mice…really ugly….so I am not so sure what it is, but she freaks, that’s for sure. Wine is our go-to cure. If things get bad, we may have to get the medicinal scotch but our First Aid treatment protocols are pretty effective.


  2. I was at a popular bar in downtown Vancouver one Friday night after a particularly grueling week.
    This Bar/Restaurant was in one of the older brick building in the Downtown core.
    On my third beer and was I thinking of ordering dinner.
    The place was packed wall to wall with people. Mostly 20-30 something suit and tie crowd.
    Pretty girls in work outfits, skirts, high heel shoes etc., Guys in suits.
    Then I spotted a baby mouse on the hardwood floor.
    Then another and another and another.
    The floor was CRAWLING with baby mice that were playing , dodging feet and tumbling and running with each other. The place was standing room only with people milling about nonstop and these mice were totally in their element.
    Insanity. I couldnt believe what I was seeing.
    The waitress came over and asked if I wanted to order from the food menu.
    I nodded towards the floor and said, ” The pets are pretty frisky tonight!”
    She looked at the mice and shrugged and said, “Yeah, its an old building, Waddaya gonna do?”

    I passed on dinner and watched these little geezers for another 20 minutes or so.
    No one stepped on any of them OR spotted them.


    • Passing on dinner….good move. I have some rodent stories from Belize like that. But the one that freaked me a little was the rat infestation of Granville Island. I built Kids Only Market in the 80’s. That is when I learned that the administration of the island had a 3 shift-a-day team whose job it was to kill rats and repack the bricks on the streets. Seems the island was so rat-packed that they undermined the paving stone roads with tunnels and then the bricks fell down. People didn’t like the bumps in the road. So, the team would go, dig out the bricks, throw down some poison and then fill in after with sand. Then they would replace the bricks….on and on and on….day after day after day…for years. I am sure they still do. Vancouver has a rat problem like New York. New Orleans blows them all out of the water with a cockroach problem that is a horror movie not yet made.


      • Ahhh Granville Island.
        About 20 years ago I went for a bicycle ride and ended up at G.I. for a drink of water.
        I sat outside and watched as a 30 something woman and her 2 year old daughter were tossing bread crumbs to the seagulls.
        The seagulls would dive down below my view on the dock and then fly back up without the bread??????
        I walked over and looked down on the rocks.
        They weren’t rocks.
        The entire shore was covered in rats waiting for more bread crumbs like a pack of well trained dogs sitting waiting for a treat…
        The mother was happily tossing bread crumbs as her daughter clapped and laughed….
        and the rats swarmed back and forth down below in a wave of squealing vermin.
        “You’re feeding the rats?” , I asked.
        She looked at me like I was an idiot so I repeated it again, “YOU’RE FEEDING RATS!”
        She gave me a dirty look and tossed the rest of the food down and stormed off in a huff.

        I was back there 2 weeks ago and there are signs EVERYWHERE
        ‘Do NOT feed any wild animals. It is animal cruelty”
        No one was tossing food out.


      • It was pretty icky in the grain growing regions. It has been another good winter. Nice rain so they are expecting another bumper year this spring. We had more than our usual numbers and our dogs were like race horses in the gates ready to spring toward the backdoor every time someone went in that direction.


  3. It is interesting to note that the NEWS is also filled with the fauna fighting back (somewhat). Mice, rats, Cane toads, pythons in the Everglades, cockroaches and ants and killer wasps all working with coyotes and raccoons to invade urban areas (maybe not the pythons). Stanley park in Vancouver is currently deemed ‘off-limits’ due to too-frequent Coyote attacks!
    It is as if there was a quiet war going on and we are not really aware of it. If here is a ‘shocker’, it is coyotes biting humans. I have encountered dozens of coyotes in urban areas and they have always been shy and sneak around. But Stanley Park Coyotes attack!?


  4. Just got back from your neck of the woods. We stopped at Heriot Bay Inn for a night at the marina. It looks like they are having a harder time dealing with Covid issues this summer than last. We love that place so I hope they can make it through. We are having both a mouse and woodrat problem at the float cabin. Must be critters making a last dash to get set up for the upcoming fall and winter. I haven’t had a garden for two years, but they must have long memories, or at least inherited ones since the original critters have gone to their final resting place. And in our family I am responsible for critter control. – Margy


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