10 October 2005


Tammy is cryin'. All over me and mine, you and yours, over all of us. Cryin’. Big ole southern gal country post-tropical depression up from the Caribbean as a tropical storm losing steam and now a streaming extremely heavy rain low with a cold front to the west.

Tammy cries huge sobbing jags. Cries hard. Grass flattens. Mud runs. Ditches overflow. Uni football games continue. Fields flood. Wells fill. Rivers overflow. Cars hydroplane. The Horrid's reporting of accidents doesn't even include the ones I saw on the night busride to Dartmouth.

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Out of an appointed cell, the guru author of Decorating Penitentiaries, Safe Accessorizing on a Prisoner’s Budget, and Scrapbooking for When You’re Booked Without, was supposed to play in the water and paddle a hollowed-out pumpkin on Lake Pisaquid behind the causeway across the Avon River in Windsor, Nova Scotia but her private plane was grounded in Maine by the rain. Did the carvers of pumpkin boats equip them with a hollowed gourd bailer? Her role on the water was filled by one of her associate producers with a kayak paddle and umbrella hat.

If she’d been there yesterday, would Bobbing for Apples have taken on new meaning, taken a new spin?

“Hi, my name is Apple. I’m a compulsive redecorator . . .”

— • — • —

Down on the Fisherman’s Preserve government wharf buddy pumper is scooting around on his little propane-fuelled forklift. Even in Tammy’s torrential rains four or five of the boats based in Seaforth are out on the water after schools of herring. They’re allowed to net up to 20,000 pounds of herring per day in a max of a month long season.

When they return, low in the water, the buyer and a monitor are waiting. The vacuum mouth of the pump is lowered into the boat's hold and turned on. Fish fly, as if liquid, up a hose large as the ones sewage pumpers use and out onto a conveyor rack that drops them into large stackable produce bins the size of pallets. Filled bins are topped with ice. Loaded, with the forklift, onto high-bed trucks 2-up and driven to Cape Pelé on New Brunswick’s Nord Shore. Sometimes they pump herring late into the night to get the boats empty for another day on the water.

The sound is not restful, not sleep inducing, unless one is comfortable with large bilge pumps or sleeping with machinery. The cement wharf gets slick with herring scales. Day is quieter, except for the incoming truck stacked with mostly empty tubs. Some tubs are filled with ice for the next night’s catch and the drive from Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.

A few days ago, the parents interrupt each other in telling me, one of the boats [unintentionally] dropped its herring net overtop of a whale. Whales naturally follow and feed on the schools of fish. This whale took off and took out nets from four other boats before breaking free. The herring sieners also travel in tight packs overtop of the herring schools. I hope that Fisheries or someone went after the whale to to help it get free of the nets, or to see that it freed itself.

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Heading out of Moncton on the Acadian bus bound for Fredericton and points beyond, the driver pulls into the Moncton Coliseum parking lot. Stops. Get off the bus. Does something I can’t see. Gets back onboard. Starts the but up and turns it back toward downtown and announces, “We going to the garage. There’s a bad wiper that needs replacing.” Couldn’t see with this much liquid streaming down the driver’s window.

So we drive back to very near the bus terminal to a no name building: Stress-Con cement walled structure. Obviously made in the years when the Irving clan owned Scotia Motor Transport (SMT) out of Pictou, NS. The human entry door is labelled 29. We drive up to one of the bus bay doors. The driver gets on his phone, says, “I’m on the other side of the building.” Backs up and drives forward to an adjacent bay, then in as the door rolls up. We’re getting the “scenic tour.” It’s a quick operation. A snap. Then we’re on the road again. Out past Costco for the Trans-Can. We catch up to and pass one of the other busses on this run between the Mill Cove exit and Jemseg.

t: (1) black w/ TWUC sleeve logo; (2) QUOD NOS NON NECAT
loc: (1) Acadian Terminal, Fredtown; (2) bus Acadian Bus 4748 from Moncton to Fredericton
temp: 10 C, 94% humidity
sound: (1) vending machine hum, traffic, a chaos of taxis in the bus parking lanes, mostly student passengers buying tickets, tagging luggage, chatting as they join the wait; (2) people on cellphones, Little Feat with Waiting for Columbus for the road

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