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.