“What’s this?” George Mackenzie asked Molly Whiteside as he perused the menu at Mabel’s Grill the other morning. “You’ve changed the price of my pancakes and maple syrup again,” he noted, looking at the price crossed out and increased.
“Costs keep going up,” sighed Molly. “You should try to feed two growing kids if you think this is bad.”
“Didn’t Mabel just get these printed a couple of months ago?” asked Dave Winston as he set down his menu.
“She did, but food prices just keep going up,” shrugged Molly. “You farmers of all people should know about that. You should be able to afford a few cents more, too, given the prices you’re getting.”
“Huh, obviously you haven’t had the pay to fill up the diesel tank on my combine or dry corn with the price of propane these days!” Dave shot back.
“I hear your pancakes and maple syrup price might get worse yet,” said Cliff Murray. “I was seeing on the TV about one farmer down in Nova Scotia who had more than half his maple trees knocked down by Hurricane Fiona. He won’t get his maple syrup back to the level he had before the storm in his lifetime, so if that happened to many producers the maple syrup price is likely to go up again by spring.”
“Guess I’ll warn Mabel not to rush out and print new menus yet,” Molly sighed. “And I suppose I don’t dare ask her about a raise, either. I mean she just survived being closed for COVID-19 and now this.”
“At least you’ve still got a corn crop to harvest”, George told Dave after Molly took their orders back to Mabel in the kitchen. “I was reading that some of the farmers in Prince Edward Island had their corn ruined in the hurricane. The plants were hit with so much salt water picked up by the winds that they’re loaded by salt and mycotoxins infected them.”
“Yeah, I know, I should be happy I didn’t have to live through all that,” sighed Dave. “I mean even if my corn yield is down a few bushels, I’ve got a crop to harvest, which is more than I thought I might have when we got so little rain this summer.”
“Well it won’t be long now before the harvest is finished for the year,” said George.
“Yeah, we can stop worrying about the weather and crops in the field for a few months,” said Dave
“And get used to more hours of it being dark,” sighed Cliff. “Guess I’d better get my full-spectrum light out again to help pick up my spirits in the months without much daylight.”
“I don’t know, those long nights have their advantage,” said Dave with a twinkle in his eye as he nudged Cliff. “More bedtime offers certain benefits for a married man.”
“Yeah, I can use the extra sleep,” said George.
“Obviously you must have done something else than sleep in the long winter nights,” said Dave. “Weren’t three of your four kids born in late summer or fall?”
“Oh, you meant that?” said George. “Heck, I’m old enough that nights are for sleeping these days,”
“I hope I never get that old,” said Dave. “And I don’t think my wife would be happy either.”
“Yeah well, my wife doesn’t complain,” said George, “particularly since COVID-19 broke out and bed was the safest place to avoid it.”
“COVID? Was COVID-19 a problem?” wondered Dave. “I mean there’s what, six and a half million people in the world who’ve died because of it, but listen to some people and the real problem was the actions the government took to reopen the border from the protesters or clear out the Ottawa blockade.” “Yeah, apparently COVID-19 isn’t a problem in Alberta” said George “I see that the new Premier says the real problem is the vaccination mandates that are the worst discrimination she’s ever seen.”
“Obviously she hasn’t ever been a person of colour,” said Cliff. ◊