The hidden years in Canada 46, Up North

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 01 June 20:47


Up North

‘Hey,’ the man called out after looking around, ‘Indians, in my bar, I did not know that was allowed.’ The horse went sideways from nervousness and knocked a few tables over. A clickety clack sound came closer and a second horse came in. People began to run for the exit. Drunken cowboys with horses in a small area that was asking to be trampled. A third cowboy appeared at the threshold without a horse, but very tipsy. He pulled a Winchester and shot in the air, the shot reverberated through space and he loaded with a nod his rifle again. It was dead quiet. Only two other horses took a few steps back and forth with restrained fury  because of so many people and smells. Now appeared a few rough-looking men in the door opening. '

Hey, ‘the man with the gun said, give big Pete the word. It was unnecessary to shout because it had become very quiet  for such a big bar.

Big Pete looked around, in good tipsy state. ‘So guys, here we are, back from Up North, we are going to let this town come alive. We’d like a few good laughs. ‘ The bouncer was pushed forward, he looked pale. ‘So,’ cried Big Pete, still seated on his horse, ‘I'm thirsty and my horse as well. Let your Indian fetch a bucket of water for my horse. But if I drink, I don’t drink alone. ‘ ‘Yeeh how,’ cried his comrades and ‘Ride Em Cowboy.’ ‘Call your boss,’ the man said to the bouncer, ‘and say that the door has been paid for,’ and he threw a bundle of money on the ground that he had dug up out of his shirt pocket ‘and any other damage we cause tonight.’ Just give me an ear folk, and his mate shot again in the air. ‘The team of Big Pete doesn’t drink alone.’

‘What is this,’ Bull said with wide eyes? ‘Come Simon and Bull, 'I said,' Rico and I are going, 'we'll give you a ride home.’ ‘This might get out of hand.’ ‘The women' he said it eagerly and scruffy,’  are for us, who did not get that? ‘ It seemed that everyone had understood it immediately. ‘Good,’ said Pete. The Indian came up with a bucket of water and placed it next to the horse, which went slurping away. ‘Look that goes down well, Pete said, and now everyone that is not cowboy or white out.’ The drinks are on us !! ‘We’ll pay for the drinks, hey, is there no music here? ' Kabhoem, the heavy Winchester rifle spoke again. The band started hesitantly, playing the burning ring of fire and we walked discreetly towards the exit. Once outside, I was relieved, ‘We have come away alright, you can never know how things turn out.’


‘What was all this about,’ said Bull? ‘These are men who have come back from past Fort McMurray, I replied. The Pontiac floated away, with a soft rumbling in the exhaust pipes, the bar had now truly become a cowboybar. ‘They work in camps up North and away from Fort McMurray flying to the semi frost areas. Because they live in barracks, on top of the frozen marshes. Now it is also summer there and the drilling rigs are dismantled and together with the baracks  stored on the ‘hard’ areas which is not like quicksand as the thaw sets in.’ ‘Have you been there,’ Simple Simon wanted to konw? ‘No,’ I said, '' but a mate of mine, Kiwi, worked there. As the helicopter flies away then you have to rely on your teammates, 9 months, after which they will pick you up again. You work 24 hour around the clock on and off in teams and all you see is the tundra and snow. You get huge bonuses for the shift services and for the extreme climatic conditions and isolation pay and that on top of your ordinary wage. There are no women and no drink and the men after 9 months, are free, because they’ll have to wait until the first frost justifies the construction of the camps, and they’ll go there again for a next period of 9 months. ‘

‘They don’t say for nothing that the men of Up North spend more in a bar one night than we do in a month. So if damage is paid for but nothing happens, the owner takes the gang for granted. ‘ ‘It's Thursday hey, 'Rico mingled there now and looked at the two young colleagues, grinning,’ they have received their check and cashed hem. The same will probably be now taking place in several bars in Calgary. They don’t know what to do  for craziness, but money which is stupid sorts all that is wrong. They are king for one month and then go broke back after that month but they have charged up for another 9 months. ‘

‘I hope never to see those guys again,’ said Simple Simon, ‘I actually thought it was a robbery.’ ‘This was quite extreme,’ I said, ‘but it is not strange if they go target shooting on the glasses in the racks. It's like something, they can do, because they have money. The ladies come to them like flies to honey because they earn in one evening more than in a month hunting working men. '


‘Well,’ I said, 'you've experienced something special when you go back next Thursday to the Queens, the damage will be repaired and you’ll have a nice evening. ‘ ‘I won’t go to the Queen's anymore,’ said Simon. ‘Then,’ said Rico, 'I think you’ll quickly leave our firm. ‘ The Pontiac stopped at the train station after the boys got out we headed for our home. ‘They have just had their first baptism of fire,’ laughed Richard. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘but this was extreme, for the same token a drunken idiot will shoot you dead, accidentally but dead.’ ‘Tomorrow is another day,’ I sighed. ‘If I only pass my trucker’s license otherwise I'm on the street.

San Daniel 2015

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