She had the best sense of humour; a laughter that hung on the air and went viral throughout the room.
I’m often asked where I get my stories from. I don’t think about any story I am about to write. I sit down in front of a computer and within the hour a story will come out. Of course this comes after more than 30 years of experience of working as a journalist. The stories come from many places and from people in all walks of life.
My job is to condense the story down to about 700 words. The stories also come from personal experiences.
I also enjoy writing a story which brings laughter and maybe gives readers something to think about. I like to believe I have a sense of humour (even if psychiatrists have another definition for it).
I know I inherited my sense of humour from my mother. My mom entered a residential school when she was seven years old. Ten years later, she was allowed to go home with only about a Grade 2 education. In the decade she was at the school, she didn’t even learn how to speak English. She once told me she spent most of her time at the school trying to survive.
The one thing she came home with was an incredible sense of humour. Apparently, while she and other girls were busy peeling potatoes, sometimes for 12 hours a day, they would tell stories and jokes.
Laughter is probably all they had and imaginations only children can conjure. When I was a boy, she would tell me stories that sent my own imagination into places where even a Sasquatch is real.
She once told me a story about a baby Sasquatch.
“There’s no such thing as a baby Sasquatch,” I said.
“Of course there is,” she replied. “If there’s a big Sasquatch, it only makes sense there would be a baby Sasquatch.”
She had ways of making me believe her stories. Even though I knew in the back of my young mind there was no baby Sasquatch, she told the story so believably that it might just have be true.
She told me how the mother Sasquatch lost her baby in the bush and how for many years she has been looking for her baby.
“That’s why you have to stay away from the bush,” she said.
To this day when I go camping in the bush, I always keep an eye out for that baby Sasquatch.
The other thing she liked to do was pull practical jokes on me. In our main cabin on our Northern trap line, we had a bear hide in front of the fire.
The head of the bear was attached to the hide. The bear’s mouth was wide open. I used to be scared of the bear’s head, so my mom always had the head facing the wall or she would cover the head with a towel.
One day, as my dog and I approached the cabin, I noticed nobody was around. I thought maybe my mom and dad went hunting or took the boat and went fishing. I walked into the cabin and saw the bear staring right at me.
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I immediately went into panic mode because I wanted to go inside to have something to eat. I finally convinced myself the bear was dead and all I had to do was go inside and throw a towel over its head.
Slowly I walked inside the cabin, keeping an eye on the bear and trying to find a towel. Just when I was about to reach for something to throw over the bear, it moved. If I hadn’t been so young, I would have had a heart attack.
At first I thought I was seeing things, but when I looked again, it once again moved and it continued to move until I almost felt myself blacking out.
I tried to turn around to run out, but my feet felt like they were glued to the floor. Just when I thought my tiny muscles were going to give way, I heard my mom’s laughter.
She had tied a small thread to the bear’s hide and hid behind a corner; and every time I moved, she would tug on the thread and move the bear’s hide. At first I thought it was the most horrible thing a person could do, but afterward we were both laughing so hard we fell on the bear’s hide.
My mother passed away 10 years ago. At first I thought there would be no way I could go on without her. After a while I figured out she didn’t die; she would always live in my heart.
Anytime I need to talk to her, I speak from my heart and I can actually feel her response. And, if I listen carefully, I can hear her telling me another story about that baby Sasquatch.