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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

August thoughts

BY Sonny Orr Aug 17, 2021

It seems that this summer has been a bit of a disappointment with no real moderate temperatures to sooth the soul, instead it has fluctuated between scorching hot weather or foggy, rainy days. You can’t decide what to wear – shorts or jeans, t-shirts or jackets, flipflops or gumboots – the weather had us beat every time. 

I can imagine the meteorologists tearing up their latest forecast because the situation had changed in a flash, from a tornado to a flood or a lightning storm to a bush fire. The gods must be arguing over the latest Marvel movie – Loki the Mischievous Imp God versus Thor the Thunder God. Go figure, someone needs to be blamed for this ever-changing weather.

Weather aside, in the last weeks of our so-called summer, restaurants and bars are finally opening their indoor seating. But who wants to sit inside? So, the outdoor patio is the choice for those who like noisy traffic, dusty winds, buggy food and grinning chins covered in beer suds. 

I forgot to mention the spectacular dark-red sunsets, thanks to the thousands of forest fires across the continent that turn the once clear blue skies into an asthmatic’s nightmare. Even hard-core smokers are complaining about the resin-thick smoke.

The highways will soon be wide open for travel and getting around by aircraft has just become permissible, albeit vaccination passports may be needed. 

Vaccinations should have included some sort of dye, like bright pink for the first shot, then flaming red for the second and finally washed down with a gargle that changed your skin tone to a subtle green, for GO. That could have saved us from fiddling around with a large piece of paper or trying to find a screen shot among the thousands of images on our cellphones.

As for me, I’m down south for the month of August and I’m wondering what’s in store for me and my family. Will the Delta variant cut loose and ravage the south? I hope not. I’m doing good because every day is already a bad hair day, so who needs another bug to deal with? Talking about bad hair, I had my first haircut in two years. I was somewhat proud of my stubby mullet, but due to an incessant need to shampoo with expensive soaps, I prefer the sweat-free fuzz style, where everything glistens and shines.

One thing about this long stay, I managed to purchase a brand-new vehicle second-hand over the internet, which was a blessing. I didn’t have to wait in a showroom, or deal with a pushy sales guy, or haggle over the options or upgrades. I even got my insurance online from my bank and some other bank did all my financing. I only had to get the vehicle mechanically verified as road worthy. 

Still, it meant I had to leave community and so it was a month before I could saddle up my trusty steed and head south to savour foods that my palate desperately longed for. Now that I’ve been here for over a week, I realize that my home cooking is missed by not only my stomach, but by the rest of the family. I guess this is the price we pay when the head cook goes on vacation.

I see that many faces I used to recognize now wear masks to hide any recognizable features. So many people I chance onto think that I’m my brother or some long-lost relative who looks like me, asking if I’m related to Sonny. Even after flashing my once famous façade to the curious ones, I get no strong elicitation of recognition. I guess I’ve worn my mask so long that the strap marks are now part of my permanent look. So much for notoriety, who needs it anyways. 

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.