September 15, 2001
“Snow is on Grey Mountain and a chill is in the air
Willow leaves are changing, pretty colours everywhere….”
Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be writing a column and here I am at my computer, just singing away, albeit softly, of course, remembering Chris’ edict that all singing must be done out of earshot of our customers. But gee, it’s just so darn pretty up here these days, with the crimson and gold of the poplars, the purple mountains with the first white caps and a truly gorgeous blue sky. There’s nowhere prettier than Yukon in the first days of fall. Even the Yukon River has absorbed something of the autumn colours and looks like teal blue moiré satin as it roils, full and deep, through the valley. It’s good to be here and it’s good to be alive.
At least, those were my thoughts until I pulled onto First Avenue and came face to face with my latest on-going predicament: where to park my little car today?
I have to confess that for the past year, I’ve been just a tad complacent about my downtown parking spot. While my mother lived in Closeleigh Manor, a couple of blocks from Mac’s, I parked in a slot designated for visitors, my claim justified by a daily chat with Ma on my way to work. When she moved to Macaulay, I continued to pull into Site 20, telling myself that virtually no one else parked in the area and if there was a problem with my doing so, someone would certainly advise me of my misappropriation. No one did, possibly because I blended in so well with the Closeleigh crowd, what with my old-lady silverish-whitish older model Tempo and my sensible shoes and my grey roots. It didn’t hurt, either, that I was having a little trouble with my hip at the time and came down a bit heavily on my one leg. Okay, I might have exaggerated it a bit as I left the parking area, going with a sympathy bid in case someone was looking, one does what one must, right?
But I knew it was too good too last and it didn’t.
Inevitably, the Riverfront Beautification plan rolled over my private little parkade.
Chewed up, spit out and covered with a new layer of asphalt, it turned up smaller and smoother and, as the sign said, for YTG EMPLOYEES ONLY. And with it spelled right out in black and white, I don’t think a gimpy leg is going to help this time and I’m on the scrounge again, looking for a home for my old-lady car, preferable one that is not too far from Mac’s.
I’ve tried limping away from a few spots, like the RCMP yard and the parking space behind the Whitehorse Medical Clinic but each time I’ve come back to a note under my wiper warning me that a wonky hip isn’t going to cut any ice with them and I’d better not try it again. So I’m on the road again, here, there and anywhere there’s an empty spot by a curb, five, seven, eight blocks from work, always with the premise that if I park more than twice in one place, someone’s gonna come along and reserve it for YTG.
Living in the Yukon, in general, and in Whitehorse, in particular, is a good thing. Finding parking is something else again.
“…Fireweed has come and gone, its berries burning bright
And it’s autumn in the Yukon.”
Oh. Guess what? Barb Dunlop’s new book, Forever Jake, is in. The Harlequin Golden Heart award winner has come out just a couple of months after her first book, The Mountie Steals a Wife, which was a Yukon best seller earlier this summer. We phoned to see if Barb would be willing to come for a book signing. “Oh, gee, I don’t know. This book is much raunchier than the first and it might be a little embarrassing. For my husband, you know…” Turns out that far from being embarrassed, Gordon was tickled pink. “Well, you know, people are going to know you didn’t figure all that that out by yourself, had to have some, ahem, expert advice, know what I mean, heh, heh, heh.”
Barb will be signing her books at Mac’s on Saturday, September 15. Gordon will be available for consultation.
It’s rare that we have two Yukon books come out at the same time but this month we are also featuring Close to Spiderman, a volume of short stories set in Whitehorse and written by homegrown author, Ivan E. Coyote, who lives and works in Vancouver. I began browsing through this slim volume in a desultory manner but ended up thoroughly engrossed and intrigued by this very fine young author. I finished it and went straight back and read it over again. Very good stuff.
“ Í see friends prepare for eighteen hours days that seem like nights
And the six hours that the sun does shine can be a welcome sight
Social clubs are starting up, it’s something we all share….”
Hey, I’ll bet Ken Mulloy is wondering what kind of social club he joined without knowing it. At least, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. “I got this magazine in the mail,” he said, “my name and address and everything on the label but I’ve never heard of it and I don’t know what to make of it.”
His wife, Diana, didn’t know either. “I thought when he got a little older his tastes would change and he’d be looking for new things to do. But this?” she asked, pointing to the image of a gorgeous redhead wearing nothing but gold stilettos, sprawled in a posture of sensual abandon on black velvet. “Or this?” ‘This’ being a couple whirling exuberantly above over an article entitled La Dolce Vita. “I swear, I just don’t know that man anymore!”
I quickly thumbed through the offending periodical. It was pretty damning alright for a man, a serious and sober man, who stops by on a regular basis for his Globe and Maclean’s magazines. I noted the sumptuous ads for Gucci and Nautilus, Yves Saint Laurent and Eaton’s. Eaton’s? I looked again at the title. Oasis. And above it, in small print: Eaton’s fashion, beauty, décor, food, travel, Fall 2001.
Relieved, I pointed it our to my distraught friend. “Oh look, Diana, it’s just a catalogue, and an Eaton’s one, at that.”
Diana looked at me as if I’d gone mad right along with the rest of her world.
“An Eaton’s catalogue? What catalogue? Where are the corsets and farm implements and tenting equipment? I don’t see any men’s long johns. And not a housedress anywhere!” She snatched the magazine from my unresisting hand. “An Eaton’s catalogue, my eye!” And she marched out, bristling with righteous indignation.”
I waited until she’d left the store, then I picked up the phone and called Ken to warn him that she was on her way home. “Good luck, old friend.” I started to hang up when a thought occurred to me. “Ken? Just one word of advice: If nothing else works, try a limp. It can’t hurt.”
“…Yes, it’s autumn, in the Yukon!”