E-letter: Harvest in the valley

What a lovely Thanksgiving in the valley! The leaves were in full riot, and the river out back was running low and clear most of the time. It got a little dull after a few showers, but cleared back up quickly.

Kerry Knudsen

Harvest time has been the height of the year for all agrarian societies. Granted, most of us no longer have any connection to food production, but, nonetheless, we can gather family and friends around and pick and choose just about anything under the sun for dinner.
Last week, Lee Ann and I were sitting in the dark, watching the fire and having our morning coffee when a passing thought shot through. I recalled my childhood, when a rare but cherished treat was sour cream and raisin pie. I asked Lee Ann whether she ever had it, and she recalled that she did, although long ago and far away.
So we looked up sour cream and raisin pie on Paprika, our recipe googler, and there it was. So, of course, there was nothing for it but to add it to the Thanksgiving menu.
Also last week, I drove out to watch my 10-year-old granddaughter take her riding lesson and talk to her mom, formerly known as my daughter. The lesson went well, but granddaughter said to wait, as she had a surprise for me.
So I waited in the van, and soon, here comes this little bit of a kid hauling a 20-pound blue hubbard squash. It is known in the family that blue hubbard is my favorite, but they are not common, and they can be huge and hard to manage in the kitchen, let alone by a 50-pound kid in a barn lot.
I got the idea about then that we should substitute blue hubbard for pumpkin this year in the pie category, and we did, so our pie tradition went out the window this year, and, given the popularity of the replacements, it will stay there.

Moving on, I am not given to saying, “I told you so,” but this time there is a point to be made, so I will. You will recall I wrote that we should not take too seriously the media panic over Trump and Canadian trade. My reasoning at the time was that we have far too much connection with the States to mess it all up, and that it seemed inconsistent with Trump’s actual actions, even with such vocal enemies as North Korea. I thought Trump was working China, that he needed to present a unified strategy and that we likely would be relatively unscathed.
According to an interview with HollisWealth investment advisor Allan Small in the October 2 Financial Post, the deal “took away the uncertainty that has been looming over this trade negotiation for quite some time, but at the end of the day I think the agreement itself wasn’t too different than the existing one.”
I am sure we can quibble over whether some sectors got a worse ride than others, but I think we must agree that the final result was nothing like the fiscal and cultural Armageddon predicted in the media.I don’t know what we’re going to do about the media. They were bad enough before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but since then they have been in full-bray mode, all headed south leaving us with the view from up north. A view only a mother could love.
I flatter myself to think my opinion of the media is a better opinion than most, since I have a graduate degree in journalism and have been in the business for a coon’s age. I may not have such an opinion, but I’m on a roll so I’ll warn you that the media in Canada and the U.S. have become addicted to advertising revenues from political campaigns and are willing to do anything to get their next fix.

Basically, the game is to set up two sports teams: the Reds and the Blues (or, in the States, the Blues and the Reds). Then, the media sets up “surveys” so they can keep attention at a razor’s edge with threats of losing, overtaking or conquest. There will be no “done deals” in the upcoming election cycles. Too much is at stake. It is an axiom in the media that nobody reads the weather if it’s a fine day. Only when a fatal threat is imminent do people stop what they are doing and read.
By now, the media has been successful in polarizing both countries based on perceived slights and imagined insults.
I know better than to “go there” on the circus of the Kavanaugh nomination, but it was horrifying to a free person in a free society to watch what the media and the Democrats did. Forget about Kavanaugh and whether he should or should not. The entire post-hearing cataclysm was predicated on the idea that one person made an allegation that was 37 years old, etc. You all know the story.
The thing is, I thought we had put all this kind of lynch-mob rhetoric behind us. I assume you recall the name of Emmett Till. According to Wikipedia (not my favourite authority, but in this case both correct and handy), “Emmett Louis Till was a young African-American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.”
In addition, my knowledge of black lynchings in the States says there were several that were based on the uncorroborated, unverified allegation of a white woman. In fact, that was the foundation of the entire story presented in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. So let’s not pretend that women (in this case) utter no falsehoods.
Free societies do not persecute people based solely on allegations. We know that. But I have to say, when I saw all those harpies clawing at the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court last weekend, it seemed to me that all that was missing was the pitch forks and torches.
It seems to me the Democrats and media both got a big charge out of the process, and I assume the media profited by being able to claim viewership, but I think what they did is dangerous to commerce and tranquility.
Anyway, the U.S. stock market is trading in record territory. The TSX is down as we go to press, but not significantly. The Canadian dollar dropped a bit, but not abnormally. In all, things seem to be cooking along — a little muddy and a little clear. After all, it’s autumn in the valley. Things seem to be as they should be, but we need to keep a close eye on who we are listening to.

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