Tag Archives: food poisoning

The Kick-start

I told you you should have moved back from the edge Rolly!

I told you you should have moved back from the edge Rolly!

I’m struggling to get started on my blog today, but I haven’t had my morning jolt yet. I hate to admit that I have some kind of dependency problem but if you want to be a stickler about what an actual chemical dependency entails— “an addiction to a mood or  mind altering substance” then I’d have to say that I fit that description. I don’t function on all cylinders until I’ve had a nice big cup of  black, sweetened with Splenda coffee… It’s still brewing.

That reminds me… When I was young, poor, and stupid—well, maybe not poor— it’s just that Rolly and I had no money for anything but an old junker car; it would never go in the mornings  so that he could just get on his way to work without a fuss and bother. My job was to pour a few morning jolts of gas directly into the watchamacallit that’s on the engine, where the little flap would open and shut—just like the flu on a stove-pipe. Once in a blue moon the temperamental engine would start up without any assistance, but most mornings Rolly would attempt repeatedly to get it to turn over and it refused. That’s when the poor man would realize “Hey! This thing is a lot like my wife! She just needs her morning jolt to wake her up before she goes on her way!” and then he would head off  to get the gas can (for the car that is—for me he would have to bring a cup of instant Maxwell House Coffee.)

After retrieving the gas can he would call me from the kitchen doorway, and I would throw on a pair of flip-flops or winter boots under my nightgown and head out to the gravel driveway. When it was time, he would yell at me through the open hood of the car, which thankfully screened my face from view, “Ok! Pour it in!” (I don’t like being yelled at, even when it is necessary for someone to make themselves heard, and my grouchy expression with furrowed brows and gritting teeth in response always shows it.) I pour in a capful of  gasoline. There’s a pop as it explodes and the engine starts!

I didn’t know that this was very dangerous until years later. It’s just not anything anyone ever told me. I took Home Ec. while Rolly took Shop classes (including Auto Repair, no doubt!) When I found out that I could have been killed…No?…Lost my hand in an explosion?…No?…Burned?…Well maybe.Then I was mad!

“You know I could have been killed doing that! Don’t you?”


“I could have!”

“Not likely.”

“Not likely?!!”

“Not likely.” was definitely not the right response to the mother of two children who valued her life more as an asset to her offspring, and necessary for their survival in those early years, than for any other reason! Especially, with a crazy nut like that for a dad! (Love you Honey! I really do!) I could just imagine what would happen if I was gone…”Carrie Ann, Honey, Could you just get up there on Steven’s shoulders and pour some gas into the carburetor?”

(Hurray! I just remembered the name of the gizmo! My morning coffee finished brewing a few minutes ago, and the caffeine jolt has finally kicked in! )

Well, I survived! (obviously) and we moved on up in the world— the brewed coffee, new car world, anyway, with the purchase of a nice avocado green electric coffee pot and a new shiny blue 1972 Plymouth Duster. Things started looking up when Rolly got a job as an auto assembler at the Ford Motor Company in Talbotville, Ontario. He and I stayed married, and he survived!

Checking out a dangerous icy crevasse.

Checking out a dangerous icy crevasse.

Meanwhile he disregarded the “DO NOT WALK NEAR CREVICES!” Sign on the Columbia Ice fields.He ignored the “DANGER DO NOT WALK HERE! signs over the smoldering underground coal seam fires near Drumheller, Alberta. He can vividly describe what looking straight down a mile, from the very edge of the unfenced  North— rim of the Grand Canyon felt like while his agitated wife screamed at him to “GET BACK! GET BACK!’ He survived a rapid and painful 28 pound weight loss over a 12 day period after he ate two hot dogs in the work canteen on the day of our tenth anniversary.

Hot dogs which were sometimes known to be broiled within “The Pit” where a fellow auto worker ran a hidden hibachi- grilled hot dog operation right under the unsuspecting noses of the supervisors who could only see the cars passing

over the bootleg cook’s head. The source was not always questioned when lunchbreak time was short and “dogs” were passed around the table. Whether this was the source of contamination or not was not much of an issue, as the rumour that constantly circulated around the

A coal seam, smoking almost as much as the  hibachi hidden under the passing cars!

A coal seam, smoking almost as much as the hibachi hidden under the passing cars!

plant was that the food servers never washed their hands.(Probably started by all the cafeteria’s undercover competitors.) Either way, hot dogs were ill advised as a food option, or even as a weight loss aid, as they had not been previously approved by the FDA, (despite how rapidly they worked!)

Rolly came home that day with a full lunch pail of sandwiches and a rolling stomach, to the soon-to-rise ire of his wife— I have often wondered if “ire” has anything to do with the root word for Ireland as Rolly always says that my red hair and temper of former days were likely from Irish ancestors—no doubt some with a little ire of their own, and for very good reason considering their mistreatment under their ruthless landlords.

“What!… You ate what?…HOT DOGS?!…I PACKED YOU SALMON SANDWICHES! WHY WOULD YOU EAT HOT DOGS?”….”You  probably have salmonella now! if you had just eaten the salmon sandwiches you wouldn’t have salmonella!…So what if everybody else at the table was having hot dogs? If every one else was jumping off of a bridge would you jump off of a bridge too?…WHAT DID YOU SAY?… WITH A WIFE LIKE ME?!….Man! You always were a risk taker!…What do you mean ‘YOU MARRIED ME’?”

Yep! There was a little too much gas that day for my carburetor, but at least Rolly didn’t look around for  a new model. He never broke his arm. He never broke his leg. He never fell down into a burning mine shaft or a freezing crevice. And Rolly never got food poisoning ever again! He is sleeping in the other room right now—like a baby. Calm, placid, even-tempered, and able to leap over a building in a single bound. He’s got the legs for it! Just not my  permission!

To Eat Or Not To Eat? That Is The Question

The Wild Game Dinner Fundraiser for the Historical Society was to be historically accurate.

The Wild Game Dinner Fundraiser for the Historical Society was to be historically accurate.

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.

It all looks good in here Rocky! No hot dogs!

It all looks good in here Rocky! No hot dogs!

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.”