The poster featuring the pen and ink drawn collage of wild animals said “Wild Game Dinner” in bold print and had images of a raccoon, a deer, a bear, a moose, a wild turkey, a fish, a beaver and a number of other members of the Ontario wildlife population. When Rolly saw it he said “That looks interesting. Let’s see if we can get tickets.” There’s something about a holiday away from home that seems to turn the brain to mush in much the same way that prions do. Prions are those indestructible little disease-causers that are neither a virus nor a bacteria. They can’t even be sterilized to death by boiling them! I’ve read that deer and moose can get the very same disease as cows do from prions— Mad Cow Disease. But it’s called something else— “Mad Moose Disease” maybe? Not likely, but I know the technical name is “Something- Spongiform- Something.” Sounds a lot like “spongy form” or in other words “Mushy Brain” to me! I’m not enthusiastic, but Rolly is excited at the prospect of a Northern adventure of any sort, and this is a possible option.
The only way to get those dinner tickets to what is in effect a fund-raiser for the local historical society is by calling the number on the poster. Lucky me! There is no phone at the cottage, and I also do not have a cell phone, as my goal for this holiday was to disconnect and de-stress for a while. Unfortunately there is a pay phone directly across from the Food land store’s bulletin board. The message on the other end asks us to leave our name and number so they can get back to us. A reprieve!
I wonder if rednecks get that name from using public pay phones. I feel so contaminated when I get back to the car that I rub hand sanitizer on the area of my neck, ear and face that I feel may have been in contact with the phone, and I am getting a bit of a reaction to it by the time the groceries are unpacked. “Oh well: I think to myself, “It could be a lot worse to get impetigo or poison ivy from some Junior Ranger using the phone to beg his parents to come pick him up. I think of this because our daughter Carrie was not far from here in a Junior Ranger camp when she was 17. Despite her petitions for a phone call home, after a second degree sunburn that took weeks to heal, she was persuaded to “Just suck it up.” by the youthful and rather inexperienced staff. If things are the same now as they were then, contact with parents except for the half day visit in week four of the eight week program were discouraged. Letters? Yes. Phone calls? No. Of course there are cell phones now which are smaller than the cracker box sized things they used to be.They are likely every where in Junior Ranger camps now, whether they’re forbidden or not.
I guess I went off on a tangent for a bit there, and likely by now you’ve got the impression that I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Sadly, that would be correct. Not only can I not imagine eating raccoon because I think it akin to eating something like a cat, and therefore terribly wrong, but I wouldn’t eat something known for its appetite for garbage. Although in the classic John Candy movie The Great Outdoors where the raccoons are used as comedic characters with paraphrased dialogue as they sort through the garbage, one wisely issues a warning to the others to not eat the hotdogs, because “You know what they’re made out…” So perhaps they are really a lot more picky than we think. Then again it was hardly a National Geographic documentary.
In general I am always a bit insecure at potluck dinners. I can’t help but wonder “Did they cook it and hold it at safe temperature? Did they take all measures to avoid salmonella, e coli and other problems?” If they are family and friends my level of trust is enough that I can partake and enjoy most of the the meal. If they are strangers I tend to avoid the meat, the salad with dressings, the devilled eggs. What about these total strangers who will be preparing a meal of wild game? With all the nightmare diseases that I happen to know you can get from eating improperly cooked meat from certain wild animals, from watching every episode of all eight seasons of House, things like tularemia, brucellosis and trichinosis, it would certainly be unlikely that I could get a bite of anything past my lips that isn’t a cooked vegetable or a dinner roll.
Still, according to the poster on the bulletin board, the funds raised will be going to restore an old historic pioneer church built in 1888, so maybe I should agree with Rolly’s suggestion that we try to reach the person with the tickets by phone again tomorrow when we’re back in town. After all, meeting some of the locals should be fun, and I can always do what I’ve done before with meals I can’t manage to eat. Push it around a lot to different places on the plate while talking non-stop and nobody really seems to notice what I’m eating, or even if I’m not eating at all. Then I rumple my napkin and throw it partly over the plate as I say something like “I couldn’t possibly eat another mouthful!” without a single pang of conscience over telling an untruth (which, of course, I haven’t!)
It’s only now, having reread that last bit, that I realize that I probably have never offended anyone much by not eating my food, at times when they may have noticed. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that they may have said afterward “That Yvonne! She’s such a blabber mouth! I wondered if she was ever going to shut up!” Well, just blame it on the prions! Apparently you can’t know if they are actually there until after you are dead and they do an autopsy.(That is, other people can’t know.) Obviously that information isn’t all that helpful to you at that point either, except perhaps for a little revisionist character redemption.
I can just imagine it…“That Yvonne was such a non-stop talker. But she couldn’t help herself you know. We thought all along that the governor on her motor mouth was defective. But in the end it turned out to be just the prions.”