Saturday, November 29, 2014

Adventurous George (7)


It's not everyday that the universe develops a rift and the temple shroud tears asunder from top to bottom, and it certainly didn't happen the next day as George and Mottles ascended their homemade ladder to nail some fine cedar shakes on their little cabin roof. The effort was a mite tedious but the results were spectacular and by evening the front side of their refuge looked fabulous. George was excited. His list of necessities was coming and he kept thinking on how he could harvest that rice with his old row boat. It would be mighty hard to push it into the grassy bays and his only idea so far was just to get as close into the fray as he could and harvest from what he could reach. So the next day after the next, after he had finished his fine roof, that's exactly what George did. He rowed his little boat, with his tarp all nicely cleaned up and tucked neatly over the whole bottom, alongside the outer rice stalks and using a couple light sticks as he had seen the experts doing, he began bending the stalks over his boat and gently knocking the husks off. It was working, sort of, as he learned which tufts gave up the most for his efforts.

Just as he had a noticeable layer over most of his boat bottom he heard laughter. “Snowball, yer a real pro” came from smiling faces as his friends came closer. George had been so involved in his effort he had not even heard them coming. They encouraged him though, and told him he might even get lots from little tufts of rice along the shore which no one usually bothered with. So George continued and by the time his arms were ready to fall off from exhaustion, he had enough in his boat to fill maybe half a sack. He rowed back in time to meet his friends with their canoe loaded to the point of danger. Albert Two Shoes and the younger Albert One Shoe, because he had never been seen wearing more than one shoe as a little kid, had left mom at home to dry rice and begin the processing. This would be their last trip this year because the reserve was installing a new sewer system and they had only gotten a few days off for ricing this year. Oh, and they had put all George's supplies in his cabin. That evening after a feast of juicy mushroom burgers which the Alberts had brought in a cooler, and after he had spread out his own rice to dry, George went up to his cabin to check out his new stuff.

Everything was there, along with receipts and a carefully tallied list and his bank card, with the total coming out to $1,258.49, all packed neatly in the tub and plastic totes. Many items were from Canadian Tire and the rest from Walmart. The quilt had a little handwritten note attached which said “Hand sewn goose down, made by Emma, $50.” The grain sacks were used but clean, and the hinges had once hung another door with a bit of orange paint still decorating them. But everything was there including a little case with his wood carving tools. That night George and Mottles slept in their corner on their new foam mattress with their down quilt, the coziest sleep they had ever had. He should have asked for a pillow too. What a life.

Next evening after they all returned with their loads and the Alberts were preparing to leave, Albert Two Shoes told George in a very candid manner “If anyone ever asks you what you're doing here, just tell them you are here for some religious solitude with the blessings of our First Nation. This island is actually a disputed part of our reserve, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever bother you. We sometimes come ice fishing out this way, so maybe we'll stop by for a good cup of tea when the lake freezes over.” And with that they were off, chugging away, slightly overloaded, canoe in tow, but it was a calm evening.

(To be continued)
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