Well you finally got me to get off my butt to write something for the Secwepemc News. It was your request for some pictures that got us going and thank you for that. We actually enjoyed getting out and about. We seem to be so caught up in work that we forget to go out once in a while. We decided to go to one of the casinos for supper after all the picture taking. However, we got into the buffet line-up and waited awhile. After a bit Anna went to check how long the line was. Well, it looked like we were going to have at least a two hour wait. That ended that idea. We went and found a Chinese buffet instead. Good thing we did. It was half the cost and no wait at all.
In July of this year we will be starting our fourth year here in Mississippi. We left Kamloops on July the first 2008 and went to Brooks, Alberta to visit our daughter Orenda and the kids before heading south. We had sold our house on Paul Lake and both our vehicles. I kept the Mack truck I had and bought a 27 foot trailer which we used to haul ourselves and all our household goods to our new home in Mississippi. That was a good move, literally, as we saved ourselves thousands of dollars by not hiring a mover. Besides, when we got there, we were able to leave all our goods in the trailer until our new house was built nine months later.
Crossing the border was a nightmare and just a money grab by the US customs. We had two animals - a cat and a parrot, and that was where the problems were. We had to get both checked by Vets in Kamloops before we left and have letters confirming their health status. That costed a pile of money. Then when we crossed the border we had to have them checked by US Vets. Why I say that it was a money grab is that they did not even look at either animal. They just took our money and gave us a receipt. Our trailer was loaded front to back up to the ceiling. We had visions of our stuff unloaded all over the customs parking lot. As it so happened, they didn’t even open the trailer doors to look inside. There were only two other episodes that made our trip memorable. When we left Brooks we went through this little town and we didn’t notice that the highway took a sharp right on one of the streets. As a result we ended up on this country gravel road not knowing where we were. The truck tires kept throwing gravel up at the back of the truck until finally one almost came through the back window shattering it into a thousand pieces. We had to drive a whole day with the broken window. We finally got the window changed in Lethbridge. The other minor incident was running out of fuel just as we got through St. Louis, Missouri. I shuttered when I thought of what would have happened If we had run out of fuel right in the midst of all the heavy traffic in St. Louis.
We had bought a little park model cottage trailer to live in while our house was being built. It wasn’t long before we found that to get a lot of things done down here, it was not what you know, but who you know. We were lucky to find an excellent house builder to build our house. He knew everyone around here and everyone knew him, inspectors, government people, other contractors. He saved us a lot of money in the end because he let us know what we didn’t have to apply for or what to get permission to do. Everyone you talked to in the government had their hand out then they sent you to someone else who also wanted more money, unlike in Canada where it seemed all you paid was one amount and it covered everything you needed to do.
We sure came to appreciate our Canadian health care system once we got down here. People sure put down the Canadian health care system down here, even the people who would benefit most, the poor people. I think its because the media and the health insurance who spend so much on negative advertising convince them that anything that is remotely socialistic is anti-American. The working conditions down here are also very different than in Canada. There are almost no companies that give benefits, so most of the employees have no health coverage. Employees have very little security with their jobs. An employer can fire you with no reason. They have a clause they use “hire at will”. This means that you understand when you are hired that you can be dismissed at will without any reason even if you worked for that company for years. Stat holidays, forget it, you are given the day off but without pay.
Back to the health sytem. One of my co-workers had a minor heart attack. He went to the emergency for treatment. They diagnosed him and kept him in hospital for about a week. While in hospital he was not paid. There is no such thing as paid leave. So as soon as he got out, he went back to work immediately. Soon after he started receiving requests for payment from the emergency department, the hospital, the doctor, and anyone else who looked at him. The total amount came to about $200,000.00. Everytime they would call, he would tell them to”get in line”. All I can say is, “Thank God for our Canadian Health system even with its waiting period problems.
I am currently still driving truck, over-the-road. Usually I just go as far as Texas, Arkansas, or Florida. I don’t make much money at it, but it’s a job. Anna on the other hand has just gotten a job she loves. She is the secretary, bookkeeper for our church parish nearby. It’s exactly the kind of job she loves and is only fifteen minutes from work. Other than that, we get awfully homesick for Canada and plan to return someday. We are thankful for the Secwepemc News. It helps keep us in touch with all the people we know. I especially like the language phrases and translations. Well, that’s all folks.
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