Summer’s End

Camp was already seated at our usual table, looking out at the tranquil harbour. “You’re here early, “ said.

“It’s the transition to fall, “Campbell said, “one of those in-between times in the retail business, especially book stores. The only traffic is people trying to return their unread summer reads.”

“School is back and apparently there is a lack of teachers in many places, especially up north and in rural communities. A combination of a vast number of  boomer-retirees and not many millennials interested in teaching,” I said.

“It’s a shame, because teaching is a rewarding job, it’s a an important part of shaping the future. We all know that education leads to knowledge, which in turn leads to proper decision-making. Not something that is evident in the White House these days. “

“Yeah, but the more the wolf is cornered the more he lashes out,” I said. “Take that latest anonymous op-ed in the New York Times or the interview at Bloomberg’s. We have a lunatic in the most powerful office on the planet and his gold plated yacht is floundering on the shoals of truth, freedom and dignity,” I pontificated, raising my glass in a mock toast.

“You’re right,” Camp said, “but Woodward’s book and this anonymous letter will only further incite the bully in the White House and make him more defiant, reckless and dangerous, to quote David Frum,” Camp said. “And anonymous accusers are cowardly. Afraid to lose their positions and reputations.”

“Which doesn’t mean the allegations are not true,” I said. “Even here in Canada whistle blowers have no protections despite legislations to the contrary,” Camp pointed out. A Vancouver women who was an EI fraud investigatorhad to find half a million in annual savings by denying people EI claims and when she blew the whistle she was fired for breaching the government’s communications policy.”

“Well, if you blow the whistle on your boss or employer you might as well look for another job. Kind of a no-brainer, Camp said, ”and we all know Trump is not the lodestar or the sharpest knife in drawer.”

“The stupid don’t know they’re stupid, that’s because they’re stupid,” I said.

“That’s pretty funny,” Rosie said, putting a plate of crostinies on the table. “From the management to our regular customers. It’s a new menu item and we would like your opinion.”

“Are they free?” Camp asked, “because in that case I love them already.”

“How about on a scale from one to ten.” Rosie said.

We both concentrated on the free treats, feeling rather special. “I love free stuff, “ I said, savouring the complimentary appy.

“We take our freedoms with too much complacency,” Camp said, always the cynic while guiding the last crostini home, “and before we know it they will be gone. We’re already seeing an erosion of our basic liberties like the freedom of free speech, mutating as hate speak, or ‘unlawful assembly’ as in demonstrations and protests, or the denial of choice to women to control their own bodies.”

“I guess freedom comes with responsibilities,” I said

“And respect, honesty, tolerance and a modicum of compassion for others, less fortunate,” Camp added.

“Like sympathy for your poor waitress,” Vicky said, setting down a couple of frosty pints, “who has to toil every night for minimum wages and be dependent on your tips. I’d rather make a proper wage.”

“Yes, tips are not an effective incentive for performance in servers,” Camp agreed. “A mandatory service charge built into the item price would be fairer to all, the server, the customer and the establishment.”

“How were the crostinies?” Rosie asked. “I see you’ve demolished them.”

“I give them a ten because of the great value and price point,” Camp said.

“I have to be honest,” I said, “a dribble of Balsamico would make the difference. I give them an 8.”

“An honest 8 and a compromised 10.”

“Just like the two of us,” Camp laughed.

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