Poutine, Tires, and Pardon My French

Here is a photo of my favourite road sign, at 70 Mile House, BC.

I’ve never actually seen anyone in a horse and carriage there. Still, the sign is cool and it suggests the possibility exists.

There is an eating establishment along the highway in that tiny community. We were leaving its parking lot when I shot the picture. It used to be a tire shop till a dozen years ago. It’s now a great place called The Sugar Shack and it is owned by one of the most charismatic characters I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Robert is l’entrepreneur from Quebec who has built the Sugar Shack here in BC, practically with his bare hands but also with the help of some dented but heavy machinery that dots his property along with the outdoor wood-fired furnace, the sawmill, the log truck, and the piles of perfectly machine-delimbed logs. His various mixed breeds of dogs wander the property, too, calmly greeting visitors and never running out onto the highway.

While we sat there eating poutine today, waiting for summer tires to be installed on our car by the tire dealer (a friend of ours who is a preacher in a small fellowship of Christians, is owner-operator of a logging truck, and has a tire shop at his house a short drive down the road past that sign in the photo), I said, “I’d rather be here than in the finest restaurant decked out with crystal, china, and elegant cuisine.”

The poutine at Sugar Shack is like none other, and Robert is not just boasting when his signs say “You just missed the world’s greatest poutine” on the highway as you drive by.

The fries are from fresh potatoes, golden and crisp on the outside, and perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside. The cheese curds are rumoured to come all the way from Quebec, as is the gravy recipe, and the optional topping of smoked meat really should not be optional if you know what’s good for you. Even if you are a vegetarian, I don’t know if you can honestly say this is not delicious when you taste it.

As we sat there, we listened to Robert and a friend of his talking on the other side of the big wood-ensconced room.

The topic being loudly discussed was a battery charger Robert had apparently loaned to his friend.

Robert said, in his very French-Canadian accent where most of the multi-syllabled words received their emphasis on their last syllable, “I told you to take the batteRY chargER with you to PG.”

PG is what we in the Cariboo region and other parts of BC call Prince George. Of course, Robert pronounced it with the emphasis on the G.

The friend replied in a bland Canadian English voice, with a hint of humour, “Well, I always have a hard time understanding you with your French accent so I didn’t know what you meant.”

Robert let several seconds of silence pass. Then we heard his gravelly voice declaring a solid, “F*** YOU!” with hardly a French accent at all, and with no asterisks, either.

I burst out laughing and turned my head to look over across the room at them. My husband did, too, and laughter was echoing throughout the building by everyone present, Robert included.

I said quietly, “That’s so much like in our family, giving each other the middle finger all over the place. If ya can’t swear at your friends, are they really your friends?”

(This video was made after the other customers left. You can hear Robert talking in the background from the kitchen.)

3 thoughts on “Poutine, Tires, and Pardon My French

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