Saturday, May 24, 2014

At a rest stop on the Cassiar Highway, BC, 5/24/2014

Today I met a guy with a German accent named Erich at a rest stop. We talked for quite a while. He said he was born in Germany before WWII and lived through the terrors of the war, and the war mentality has never left him. He told me everything was in rubble, there were unexploded bombs left everywhere and kids would occasionally get blown up. He said there were guns laying all over the place too, including machine guns. He emigrated to Canada and became a miner in the 50s and 60s and made enough money to buy a chain of electronics stores. He did well for years, but the stores went bust in the 80s. He married a native woman who now has congestive heart failure. Now he makes his living gathering and selling wild mushrooms and berries, and panning for gold and platinum. He goes to places where there have been forest fires, because that is where the good mushroom collecting is. He showed me a whole pile of forest fire maps that he had. He said he can make $500 on a good mushroom collecting day. He hangs out with a bunch of mushroom collectors...he called it the "circuit," and sometimes they get together and play poker. He said he had been out for ten days so far and would head back in about a week. He was in a big van that he lived in on the road, and he had had it since 1977. He said he didn't have a lot of money, but he was happy.

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