Eric Colbourne

Harvest Moon

I called upstairs at 7 am yesterday morning to awaken spouse. "Get up," I said, "Fred Hutton is interviewing He-Who-Is-Without-Sin on The Morning Show. He's interviewing Danny...Danny Williams. Danny is telling us we should all be proud of Muskrat Falls."

"Danny can go jump in Quidi Vidi for all I care," she shouted back. "Now leave me alone. I'm in the middle of a dream about the Merb'ys on Middle Cove Beach."

On occasion, spouse is totally in line with my political thinking.

The newscast shifts to Dear Leader Duh-wite who appears in a photo-op with volunteers struggling to keep a food bank open in Goose Bay. I began to mourn for the sorry state of our smiling land--a grinning premier hogging the spotlight from the few dedicated men and women trying to stem the tide of poverty that is threatening to become a tsunami.

The next story features Solemn Tom, Minister of Debt, announcing that the Liberal Government has awarded a million dollar contract to McKinsey & Company, a New York-based consulting firm, to flesh out The Way Forward and tell Newfoundlanders and Labradorians how to be prosperous again.

In line with the politics, these pine-clad hills have been rattled with wild swings in the weather during the indescribable season that poses for summer in these parts. Winter ended abruptly on June 30 after Jack Frost had taken one last swipe with his icy claw. On that day, a Christmas coat of snow covered the tiny garden we had wrestled from the stony ground in the backyard.

Summer finally came at noon on July 1 with rock-splitting heat and thereon for the next two months our smiling land was turned into a facsimile of the Gobi Desert. Spouse's experimental garden of select Mary Jane withered on the vine, so to speak. Only a lonely White Widow seedling survived in the shade and managed to produce two fine buds much admired by spouse.

She swore me to secrecy lest my loose tongue alert the constabulary.

Then as if exhausted by its own bombast--much like our politicians--summer took its leave at 7 pm on August 31. A strong northeaster, with a wintry chill from the glaciers of Greenland, drove us indoors. Next morning the birds had disappeared and in the words of the poet, all that was left were the empty nests. Hoarfrost covered the remains of our prize White Widow thus ending our plans for a small celebration on October 17.

Back to Raspberry Screech and Fifty Shades of Bay.

On September 24, with summer's promise unfulfilled, the Harvest Moon rose as a blushing orb as if embarrassed for the gods of weather and for the shenanigans of our local politicians as they infested every nook and cranny of our wind-swept land over the past several months.

Just yesterday, for example, as I was peacefully engaged in poaching a few partridges up on Mount Scio, a scruffy-looking Dr. Dale, former Minister of Illiteracy, leaped out of the bushes and wanted to know if they were still gossiping about him down in the city.

"Did Ches win the by-election?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"I'm doomed," he cried.

At that moment, a partridge flew by and I blasted away with my shotgun. Dr. Dale fled into the woods.

All summer on the People's Channel, spouse and I had followed the meanderings of the Liberal herd as they showed up in every corner of our fair land from Muskrat Falls to Muddy Hole. Dear leader Duh-wite reassured all and sundry he had accomplished more in three years than any administration in history (we laughed).

"We will grow and prosper under my Way Forward strategy," he said.

Not happening.

Yes, every last sheep in the Liberal herd appeared among the great unwashed, dining on baloney and baked beans and offering much the same back to overtaxed citizens--the election is just a year away.

For the most part, though, spouse and I have been taking it easy, lulled into a state of political apathy by the disappearance of Big Eddie, Dr. Dale, and the erstwhile Minister of Finance, Cathy Bennett. In a vanishing act reminiscent of the best spy dramas, Dear Leader Duh-wite has turned them into ghostly memories, leaving us wondering whether, in fact, all of it was a figment of our imagination in the first place.

The only break in the political doldrums came when Prime Minister Trudeau announced the taxpayer purchase of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline carrying Alberta crude across the NDP heartland of British Columbia. Other than for spouse and myself, the implications of what this meant seem to have gone over everyone's head.

We were sitting around nursing our libations and watching the late-night National on CBC when the announcement came. Spouse grasped the significance right away

"This means," she said, "that of the 1150 km pipeline, you and I now own 3.194 cm each. Think of how much money we can make if we charge for every gram of heavy crude passing through our 6.388 cm. Even if we charge only 5 cents a liter that's a cool half million every year.

Spouse has a very mathematical mind.

I needed another shot of Raspberry Screech to help me fathom the future with its promise of riches for us, our children, and their children for generations to come. Then came an interview with Sioban (I'm Irish) Coady, Minister of the Mighty Muskrat, who allowed that the announcement was of great import on the scale of the Nalcor transmission line.

With the word 'Nalcor', I took a (L)iberal sip of my Raspberry Screech and the dark shadows descended.

"The financial experts," I said to spouse, "were claiming this morning that the real costs of the Muskrat boondoggle over the next 75 years will be 85 billion dollars. That's a million each of us will owe every year for all those years. 

"It's just a merry-go-round," said spouse.

"Yes," I said, liberally quoting the author, Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes), "the merry-go-round is running, but it's running backward."

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