Tignish and Museums along the way

It was a wonderful morning. There was a sun, relatively clear skies, no rain, no wicked wind, no bugs. I had a nice breakfast, cleaned up, and set about getting ready to move the RV to the easternmost side of the island for three days, before I returned to the area around Charlottetown. I had been provided a list of interesting places to see by my friend and self proclaimed ‘older sister’ Chris Rigby (she’s much younger, actually, and it could be a long story; you always have to listen carefully to an ‘older sister’. She likes that part; the ‘older sister’ part; she doesn’t like the connotation of being perceived older than me).  I lad been slacking on hitting everything on the list, so I know that I would have to get on my ‘A’ game right away.

“Ann of Green Gables” is a big thing around these parts. I never read the books, but I did watch the series on TV with my daughters back in the 1990’s, I think. I always perceived Ann as a busybody with rather defined opinions on how the world worked, how everyone should behave, and how they should listen to her to make her perceptions reality. The Green Gables Museum is on a very beautiful and pleasant piece of property. There is a lake nearby, the ocean off in the distance, green meadows, a barn, and of course the gift shops. Admission is about six dollars Canadian, a lady gives a canned speech about the house (she has said it way too many times) and you are allowed to wander around the house.

In my former line of employment, I’ve been in lots of houses. Not being a big fan of the books, I was completely unfamiliar with the individuals in the author’s life from whence she drew inspiration. The house was filled with photos of various relatives and friends, at different times in the author’s life. I felt like I was an intruder into a temple dedicated to the author. So, I’m a poop. I’ll admit it, but as a non-believer, I only watched the series thirty years ago and oh, by the way, never read any of the books. I had no idea what was going on, why the author was at her Aunt’s and Uncles house, how often she was there, when and where she wrote her book about Ann, and what the relationship was, if any between her previous books and the Ann books, and how it affected her life. The property was beautiful;. It reminded me of where I spent my youth during the summer, but provided no contextual understanding of the author and the place and the development of her character.

OK, you agree with my self appraisement, but I think that Museum’s should explain the ‘what it is’ of the item, place or thing, and then explain the contextual framework in which it existed, and how it interacted/effected all those things, people and places of that time. I was over 60, and had been interested in airplanes my entire life, when I found out that Curtis Wright, the manufacturer of all those aircraft engines that helped the US win World War II was the combination of the Glen Curtis Aircraft Company, an early aircraft pioneer contemporary with the Wright Brothers, and the Wright Aircraft Company, the company started by Orville and Wilbur Wright. I finally went to the correct museum.

I did buy a book for my grand-daughter. It’s the first version to be published on PEI, and has the original cover design, and is signed by a member of the author’s family. She doesn’t read this blog, so it’s OK, no disappointment. The book will keep.

I took off for the east side of the island looking for the Potato Museum. The Potato museum was highly recommended and I wanted to have lunch there. I was told that they had a combo platter of specialties. I arrived to find that they have selections. I asked the very lovely young girls taking orders if she had a combo. Her reply was a giggle and an “Oh. My, no. Not at all”. I had the potato soup, and an order of French fries. I couldn’t finish the fries.

 I’ve always liked fries, but never paid attention to them like I do with meat. Sometimes they were good, sometimes not. Generally, modern French Fries are not what they were. Frying potatoes in lard might not be good for you, but boy! do they taste terrific.I went to lunch with a friend of mine a year ago, and she ordered her French fries crisp. I was astonished. “You can do that?” I asked. “Sure” was the reply, “I like them that way.”. Well, it turns out that I like them that way too. Depending on the quantity of fries in the fryer, 10 minutes at 400 degrees makes really good fries.

The potato museum hand cuts theirs in a handy dandy potato slicer that converts a large PEI potato into a pile of wannabe French fries. I spoke to the woman who was doing the slicing. A very lovely, nice lady, with pretty brown eyes, but I was never to get into a go round with her. One jab and that potato was slivers. Every time. All day. Hundreds of thousands of slices. Yes, no argument with that woman; ever. They soak the slivers in cold water for a while (secret time) and then blanch them (secret time). The fries are then cooked at a lower temperature for 5 to 6 minutes, put aside, and then finished for 2 to 3 minutes in higher temperature oil. The young girl with the giggle gave the times away. No CIA job in her future. They also don’t make really crisp fries. They’re good, but . .

The museum has touches where they’ve done their homework really well, and other times, not so much. They’ve done really well in preserving objects that are now uncommon, but once were very important to daily life. I was surprised how many things I was once familiar with, that have disappeared, or been replaced by more modern machines. Many of the exhibits were missing labels explaining what they were, and in the case of some objects, what they were designed to do. They have an iron lung on display. If you were a kid or parent in the very early ‘50’s you should know what one was, and what they were designed to do, but if you’re under 35, you have no concept of the fear or terror associated with polio and the possibility of winding up in an iron lung for the rest of your life. There are reasons that this is the first one I’ve ever seen in my life. There it was, innocuous, old and primitive looking. Fortunately, the terror has gone.

The sound system that explained things, or for showing a video, was on par with the Martin Luther King Historical Monument and far superior to the tepid audio systems in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is a very nice museum that explains a wide variety of facts related to the potato. A little work, just in labeling, and it could be a stellar museum.

After the museum, I stopped off at a hardware store. The hardware store is across the street from one of the recreational Cannabis distributors. The Cannabis distributors building, the parking lot, the signage, was all new. There has to be big money in weed. I found it strange that all the windows; large picture windows were all covered in paper so you couldn’t see who was in the building, or what was in the building. Someone still hasn’t overcome the stigma yet.

I have a 30’ flag pole I mount on the RV and fly the American Flag. I’m out of the country, for the second time in my life, for the Fourth of July and I want to fly the flag tomorrow. I’ve been using Velcro to mount the pole to the ladder at the rear of the RV. It’s a pain to mount and take down. I wanted something simpler. The hardware store was a great local hardware store, the resident RV guy was called when I marched in with the pole and started looking for PVC pipe. He found, and cut some 1½” black PVC tubing and located some hose clamps, and I was set.

A stop at the local alcohol provisioner for some beer, a nice chat with the ladies that worked there and I was off to the campground. I have a nice spot directly on the water. No hook ups, no neighbors, 20’ from the Gulf of St Lawrence, and I picked up a bundle of wood. The flag pole mounted perfectly, and I discovered a legion of mosquitoes. No outside for this evening for me.

Tomorrow is off to the Genealogical center and Tignish. I have the name of the Catholic Cemetery, which is reported to be huge. I have two solid days here with the possibility of an additional half day, so it shall be interesting times. Stay tuned.