Carrying 4 plates, 3 in my right hand, one in my left, I stop at the side-station to grab the pepper mill. The nephew's behind me, he's grabbed a couple of the side dishes, one in each hand, like a truck stop waitress...

"How long have you worked here? And still only 2 plates?" I ask. He shrugs.

"Look at me bro...do I have 3 arms?"

...give the daughter her bucket of garnets for Christmas..."Mined 'em myself" I tell her. She looks blankly at them. "Hurrah" she replies..."They're not diamonds, dad..."

...and the Nephew tells the story of how when he was 10 years old his family had a parrot, and all the parrot could say was "Fuck You A*****", which it had picked up from his father...

In the smallest of things you can find the greatest of explanations...

The Final Tour, Okotoks, Cochrane, a few select shops in Calgary. A few final things before I depart, general treasure hunting, nothing I needed.

Stop in the crazy thrift shop in Bowness, packed to the brim, overflowing, can barely move, there has to be something here...nothing...

The owner, or proprietor, or maybe just the shopkeep, is on the phone, an older lady, loudly conversing with an invisible other:

"I tell you, it's going to happen...no later than a week after the election"

"No, she doesn't believe it, some people, they're not ready for the truth...."

"We need to buy land...somewhere remote...that's why I'm asking you...the more people the better...."

"...I'm telling you, it's going to be World War Three..."

"...I'm prepared, I've got a ski-doo suit and mitts, I mean, I don't have any Mukluks or anything..."

I keep shopping, this is too entertaining to leave. I've got a boyfriend for her...she's the perfect counterpoint to John Goodman in "10 Cloverfield Lane"...Pretend to browse, look long and hard at the dusty rubbish for sale, I try to buy something, it's not for sale, she doesn't want to sell it, polite but rudely declining to show me, poor preparing for the end of the world in my book, but I get her, get every conspiracy-nut-job out there, she's doesn't believe it's going to be the end of the world, she's praying for it, wants to be vindicated, off the hook for any real world responsibilities, wants to be right just this once in her life, the leader of her own dysfunctional tribe of survivalists...If there's ever a final world war, and these are the "survivors", the human race is doomed anyways...