I tried to think of something to write about for this issue but my mind came up blank after seeing a naked protestor mooning the riot squad, who promptly retaliated with their water cannon square full on his bare hiney at the much publicized Summit of the Americas at our provincial headquarters. Perhaps it was just winter shaking off its drowsiness and spring fever kicking in that wiped out some brain cells. My body doesn’t seem to take to the long cold winters of Hudson Bay; I’m a James Bay’er myself. I hoped, for all it’s worth, the summit came up with nifty agreements to help ease our (way up) North American lifestyle.

I wouldn’t mind a few concessions like South America and Canada agreeing to have free cultural exchanges, such as: The Brazilians would examine our rocky shores and we would inspect their beaches. The Colombians could send us their coffee in exchange for Labrador tea. Peruvians could send us their llamas and we’d trot down some caribou to cross breed them and create the first llamabou. The Mexicans could send us tacos and burritos and we’d fry ‘em some bannock. Soon, after a few years of peaceful trade, seeing people walk around at zero degrees with thongs will be commonplace.

Speaking of spring, the annual pilgrimage to the goose camp is at hand. These days, since many of us are so home/job/city bound, getting ready for goose camp is comparable to moving your home or apartment. The number of objects taken to camp from town has increased tenfold.

In the old days, for example, we’d prepare by getting enough firewood for heating, cooking and smoking. Flour lard and tea, sleeping gear and tent, some shells and a gun were all that was needed.

These days we have to get at least two 45 gallon drums of gasoline and naptha, very expensive spare parts for your vehicle, diapers and toilet paper, 100-200 lbs. of junk food, paper plates, generators to run the TV, 100 square feet each of camouflage tarp and foam mattresses, 50 lb. bag of road salt (for those lazy bastards who can’t wield a shovel to deice their pond). On top of all that, we have to plunk down at least a grand to pay for air transportation, while making sure to bring many, many tabloids to ward off those cold turkey bingo blues.

I think, if I had all this money to spend on my goose break, I’d go to the Bahamas and learn from the natives there on how to run a casino or at least learn to play the game of cricket. Perhaps a round of golf by the aqua blue sea and scooting around in those little mopeds while slightly inebriated would be more fun.

But, I still very much enjoy my biannual excursions to the land even though many would call me cheap in comparison. I like getting to my camp on the ice with a vehicle that doesn’t float. I like coming back looking like I have radiation bums on my face from sleeping too long in the blind on a nice day, and yelling at the other hunter when he screws up our best shot of the day. 1 enjoy building a cooking fire and rushing down to the blind when our prey catches us unawares, only to come back and find my grub eaten by my so-called friends. Nothing in the States, Central and South America can replace my moments of glory when I’m eating my kill of the day.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything.