The Jacksons – for Aug. 5, 2010

Andrew Jackson pulled into his usual parking spot outside the café in town and turned off the ignition. He sat for a moment enjoying the hot sunshine streaming in through the windshield and the breeze blowing in through the open side window. The smells of summer wafted in with the breeze, along with the pleasing aroma of fresh baking inside. Eventually Andrew opened the door, got out of the truck and entered the café. He took a quick look around inside and saw his friends at their usual table over by the window.

“Mighty fine morning,” he said seating himself in the last available chair.

“Mighty fine it is,” agreed Grant Toews who had his back to the window and a plate of bacon and eggs on the table in front of him. “It’s been a while since we had a summer like this.”

There was general assent from the other people at the table which included Roy Walters and Barry White, who had already finished breakfast and had moved on to drinking endless refills of coffee. The waitress came by and poured a cup of the same for Andrew.

“Breakfast?” she wanted to know.

Andrew shook his head. “I’m cutting back,” he said. “Only one breakfast a day and I had that at home.”

“How about a fresh cinnamon bun for dessert?”

Andrew hesitated. “OK,” he said. “Can’t have breakfast without dessert, eh?”

“That’s what I always say,” agreed the waitress heading back towards the kitchen.

“So, Andrew,” said Barry when she was gone. “I hear you’ve been developing a new revenue stream there on your farm.”

Andrew paused. “You’re talking about the sheep I presume?”

Barry grinned. “I’m talking about coyote fur,” he said.

Andrew laughed. “That story got around in a hurry, didn’t it,” he said.

“Well it’s a good story,” said Grant. “Young cowgirl saves flock of sheep from wily predator. It even makes a good headline.”

“Wily coyote, no less,” said Roy. “I mean I could count on one finger the number of coyotes that we four have managed to down in our combined lifetimes, so it’s a pretty unusual story you have to admit.”

“That would actually be one finger too many,” said Grant.

“Not so,” said Roy. “Barry here accidentally ran over one with his truck when he was 16.”

“It’s true,” said Barry. “But then I ran over a lot of things with my truck when I was 16. Curbs. Lawnmowers. Cornfields. Things like that.”

“Interesting fact about coyote pelts,” said Andrew. “It’s very difficult to find out what they’re worth.”

“Just Google it,” said Grant.

“I tried that,” said Grant. “Google sent me to which sent me to which sent me to Dufresne Furniture which tried to sell me a widescreen TV for no money down with no interest and no payments till 2020. But no prices on coyote pelts.”

“Why Dufresne Furniture?” asked Roy.

“Apparently the Internet thinks fur is short for furniture,” said Andrew.

“The Internet doesn’t think,” said Grant, “it just responds to previous inputs. Which means you need to consider the fact that someone in your household may have been searching for furniture without your knowledge.”

“That’s how I prefer people in my household to search for furniture,” said Andrew. “Anyway instead of Googling, I ended up calling the Hudson Bay Company.”

“And what did you learn from them?” asked Roy.

“I learned,” said Andrew, “that in order to make a profit with sheep you’re better off not to feed the sheep to coyotes in the hopes of making money on coyote pelts. Apparently a coyote pelt is worth about $30 on the open market. Oh, and a coyote rug is worth about $100, which I found out on Ebay, where there are a surprising number of them for sale.”

“The reason there’s so many for sale,” said Grant, “is that nobody buys them.”

“Yeah,” said Roy. “Just like hogs.” “You can buy hogs on Ebay?” asked Barry. “Not necessarily on Ebay, just wherever,”

said Roy.

“There’s an idea for you though,” said

Grant. “Maybe instead of selling our livestock at the auction mart we should be selling it online. Like on Kijiji or Craigslist.”

“It’s been done,” said Andrew. “Some guy from Plum Coulee sold a herd of hogs to some guy from Turkmenistan. But apparently there were some complications with the shipping so the deal fell through. Plus, the exchange rate of Turkmenistan’s manat to the Canadian dollar is roughly 10,000 to one.”

“How do you know that?” asked Roy. “Because that’s the kind of useless information you pick up when you look for coyote fur prices on the Internet,” said Andrew. “Just don’t expect to find information about coyote fur.”

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