Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 4: Rods, Guns, Beaver

Town of Revelstoke at a Glance:
1) Population:

- about 6,000 year-round, jumps to 8,000 during winter

- ethnic mix: none; lots of colorful locals, few locals of color.

- foreign minorities imported to perform scutt work: Australians (about 300).

2) Best places to meet women

- Curling rink (gives free lessons on Friday, have yet to verify.)

- All-you-can-eat buffet. (struck out.)

- Happy hour spot on mountain. (struck out there as well.)

- A search on Revelstoke, yielded only six age-appropriate women. An expanded search that included age-inappropriate, younger women and those in nearby towns of Salmon Arm and Kamloops yielded 164 women. (Didn't see waitress from all-you-can-eat place.)

3) Cost of living index

- Exchange rate: even; a U.S. dollar gets you a Canadian dollar.

- Medium-sized bottle of Tobasco sauce: $7

- Six pack of local Kokanee beer: $13

- Seasonal rentals with utilities and Internet: 1 bedroom apartment $900, 2 bedroom $1000.

- Low-cost housing option: An Australian lived under a resident's porch without the resident knowing for most of the winter.

4) Snowbanks:
- typical season, six to nine feet high in town.
- this season: no snow banks, worst snow season in years.

Rod and Gun Club party

- Tickets: $30 a piece, purchased at Johnny's, a local bait and tackle shop on Victoria Road.
- Format: Drinks at 4:30
- Buffet dinner at 5:45
- Dancing at 9:00

Erik and I arrive at 5:30 and take seats at a long table near the exit, just in case. We buy four Budweiser cans at the bar and sit down.

The event is in the community center, which looks like a VFW hall filled with folding buffet tables.

Halfway through beer number one, I notice the skulls. The horns and skulls of moose, elk, buffalo, deer, and more are displayed on one wall. I'm guessing the carcasses of the animals are simmering in the chafing dishes in the middle of the room.

In the middle of the table is a little diorama of a bear. The woman next to picks it up and shows it to me.

"This is the one thing, I won't eat," she says.

What about beaver?

The woman is probably in her forties, very attractive, and seated with her husband.

Then the room becomes silent. The M.C. says grace:

"I want to give thanks for all we are about to receive, this bounty, and all our good friends and community who are gathered here tonight. I'd also like to bless our sponsors: The Sandman hotel, Begbie Glass Company, Skalicky's Plumbing and Gas --"

The MC eventually calls our table to the buffet line. Each chafing dish is labled:
- Moose meatballs.
- Moose stuffed cabbage.
- Moose satay on a stick.
- Two types of sliced goose, regular and Canadian
- Sliced bear, elk, and bison.
- Salmon
- beef lasagne, chicken and other domestic foods.
- vegetables.

I take a little of everything and buy a can of Kokanee beer before sitting down.

The moose on a stick initially tastes like beef, but has a skunky, rubbery after-taste, kind of like an old bicycle tire.

I cut a small slice of bear meat. It isn't red, it's kind of purple. I take a small bite. It doesn't taste like beef, it tastes like something that was recently shot in the head or hit by a car.

"Erik, you want the rest of my bear?" I ask.

The woman next to me looks over the growing pile of beer cans in front of me and nods.

"Don't wave that stuff in front me," she points to the little bear diorama in front of her.

I stick with the beef lasagne for the rest of the meal.

"So what do the guys from Boston think of the dinner?" she asks loud enough to get the attention of her husband and the couple sitting across from them.

"Anyone want the rest of my bison or a slice of elk?" I ask the group.

They all have small plates of uneaten animals in front of them.

"Actually," I say. " If we were in Boston, we probably wouldn't be talking to each other. We'd all be staring straight ahead, complaining about the food, the service, or the color of the hand towels in the bathroom."

One of the husbands joins the conversation. "We're a pretty friendly bunch," he says. "There are some real plusses to small town life."