The hidden years in Canada 70,the Wetaskiwin

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 24 June 08:56

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The Wetaskiwin

It was still dark and the truck was dieseling itself warm. Kiwi's truck was clearly newer than ours. The freight bills were neatly ordened and there was a paper bag next to it. I flicked the cabin light on and opened the bag. There were some chocolate bars and a bag of chips and a note in it. ‘Okay boys, just some advice, you go to Camrose, the farthest place first that is pure north of Calgary, You follow outside Calgary, Red deer and then Wetaskiwin. that is some what beyond Ponoka, so if you see it signposted then you should keep your eyes open for the next crossing. A  dirt road then goes to Wetasikwin. Once on that road you'll go straight to Camrose. Do not miss the turn off, or you will come to Edmonton and that is really not what you want, because there about all the traffic from North America gets together. Camrose is more or less 350 to 400 kilometers away, but finding construction sites takes the most of the time, hint, take coffee if you're in the area and ask for the construction sites in the bars there’ll  be local people who know where they are.’ Oh yeah’, it was scribbled underneath,’ do not get out until the truck has stopped,  Kiwi’

‘What does he mean by not getting out before stopping,’ Rico asked ? 'Nothing,' I said, 'that's a Kiwi joke. ‘ We drove out of the gate on the way to the coffee which I estimated we would take somewhere near Wetaskiwin. At intersections, you have often fuel pumps and a bar. I brought the truck to a stop and Rico jumped out of the cab to closed the gates again. A little later we drove off through the early morning, towards the city limits and Ponoka. The road began to rise immediately and the truck groaned and grunted and worked its way across the foothills, which lies on the plateau  surrounding Calgary, the real mountains are further away. It was the time of the breaking of dawn that half hour between the time when the sun is not really rising but the day already dawns. The time when visibility is poor due to the transition from night to day. Kiwi’s truck growled through the mountains and then the light dawned and the sun dispelled the night and we arrived on the prairie.

It was the forerunner of the Grande Prairie an immeasurably vast area where the livestock came from, which they traded in Calgary. Rico finally broke the silence. ‘Boy,’ he said, ‘this is really very wide. This is the country where mama Fuzzy came from. ‘ ‘Poor Fuzzy,’ I said automatically. Fuzzy blows away and Freddy McGee walks about again as a free man. ‘Man, that guy is a creep,’ Rico said. ‘Well George the pigsty is no different,’ I replied, ‘he wanted to kick me over the edge of the 17th floor.’ ‘They are 'the degenerates,' 'said Rico,' scum, lower than they are, simply don’t exist.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, 'might be the case but they have not made themselves. But they do radiate something dark ‘ ‘They won’t grow old, you can only look for fights so long, until someone does you in’ and so discussing the merits of former colleagues we drove a few hours on.

A big sign announced that we had  entered  the hunting grounds of Ponoka. ‘Blackfoot country welcomes you’, the board called out to us from afar. ‘I never knew there were Indian areas,’ I said. ‘Me neither,’ Rico replied, ‘well, they have to come from somewhere, I suppose.’ ‘I wonder if Ponoka means something,’ I thought aloud. ‘That’s  where we could ask it,’ Rico said, pointing into the distance along the roadside where some some houses came into view next to a gas station. ‘Coffee time,’ I said and we started to switch gears back until we entered the large parking area. Home of the Blackfoot read the sign above the restaurant and there were some stalls with beads and Indian stuff next to the entrance.

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Walking to the entrance we stopped and Richard looked at a Tomahawk. ‘Real Blackfoot crafts, mister,’ said a man with high cheekbones, which is typical for Indians. ‘What would it cost,’ Rico wanted to know? ‘For you, $20 dollars.’ I held out my hand and looked admiringly at the tomahawk. There was a piece of fur around the handle and some feathers hanging down around the fur. I gave it back to the Indian. ‘That's not bad at all,’ said Rico, 'something I've always wanted to have. ‘ ‘It'll be here,’ I said resolutely, ‘after the coffee and I pushed him gently towards the entrance. ‘Hey man,’ said Rico, 'what is this all about? ‘ ‘Have you not seen the label,’ I asked? ‘The label between the feathers and fur?’ ‘No,’ said my co-driving friend. ‘Labels always contain interesting information,’ I laughed. ‘Oh, information such as,’ Rico wanted to know. ‘In this case, the name of where the tomahawk is made.’ ‘Where was that? 'Asked Rico? I read made in Hong Kong, I laughed and pushed him through the door of the coffee shop.

San Daniel 2015

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