“You know what I hate most about summer?” George McKenzie was grumbling the other day. “Family reunions!”
“You got relatives you’d rather not reunite with?” asked Dave Winston.
“I wouldn’t mind if my sister’s kid, the one who works for one of those Bay Street investment companies, would go on a space mission,” said George. “That’s about as close as I want him to the farm.”
“It is sort of hard when you have rich relatives in a farm house,” said Cliff. “I mean people who are used to a master suite bathroom all their own can get a little frazzled when they have to line up with 15 other people to use the only bathroom in the house.”
“Oh Trevor doesn’t stay with us,” said George. “He and his girlfriend book into the fanciest country inn in the county so I won’t see him all that much – just enough for him to tell me how to run the farm.”
“Ah, one of those!” said Dave.
“He looks at the price of beef in the supermarket and figures that as a beef farmer, I should be rich,” said George. “He farms by Google. He looks up how many pounds an average steer weighs, he looks up how many steers can feed on an acre of pasture, he asks me how many acres I own and he multiplies it all out by the price of prime rib and wonders why I can’t afford to pave the lane so he won’t get stone chips on his Porsche.”
“Yeah, it’s hard for these people who make their money on paper to understand things like input costs,” said Cliff.
“Paper! They don’t even have to pay for that anymore!” said George. “Trevor makes his money on a computer screen. He never even gets off the screen on his phone except to tell me how rich I am because the value of farmland has been exploding.”
“Maybe you need to keep him busy,” suggested Molly Whiteside as she refilled the guys’ coffee cups. “My cousins came all the way up from the city so they could do one of those craft brewery tours.”
“Yeah, that should keep him going,” said Dave. “One of those little breweries seems to be springing up every mile or so these days.”
“There’s so many breweries people are going to stay plastered all the time just to keep them in business,” said Cliff.
“Not to mention the wineries,” said Mabel. “They seem to be popping up like toadstools, too.”
“And then there’s marijuana – oh excuse me, they want to call it cannabis these days,” said Dave. “What did I hear? They figure people are going to use $7 billion worth a year when pot’s legalized?”
“We’re going to be one happy little country, either drunk or stoned 24 hours a day,” said Mabel.
“At least the breweries are sometimes owned by little guys,” said George. “All the pot’s being grown by these huge corporations that are listed on the stock market. Trevor suggested I invest some of my millions in marijuana stocks.”
“Yeah, I guess those two guys from Kitchener who grew pot back by my bush a few years ago have been frozen out of the whole business,” said Dave. “They got two years in jail. The guys in suits like Trevor are making millions.”
“And sometime, a few years from now, they’ll probably be named to the Order of Canada for being pioneers of the business,” said Cliff.
“Isn’t that always the way it goes?” said George. “The little guys create the market but the real money gets made when the big corporations get involved.”
“I guess that will be when farming can finally be profitable,” said Dave, “when people can sit on Bay Street and use machines with artificial intelligence to farm half of Ontario.” “Huh!,” said George. “I’d really have to avoid family reunions if my nephew actually did get rich from farming.”◊