by: Rebecca Taylor (written in 2007)
In loving memory of my grandfather Herbert Taylor.
My great grandparents lived in the country on a dirt road where I live today (although things have changed some and the road is now a paved secondary highway) in rural Quebec. My great grandmother always had a garden, most everyone did in those days because you lived off the land. One day she saw an advertisement for raspberry plants in the paper, the raspberry plants would be planted for you and the company the sold them would also buy the produce, all you had to do was look after them. My great grandmother answered the advertisement and one day a man showed up in a nice looking car dressed in a fancy suit carrying a silver cane (for the times my grandfather, now eighty-two years old described him as a real city slicker as he recounted this childhood memory). As good as the advertisement sounded it said nothing of price and when my great grandmother asked about this she was told that a mortgage would be required on the property. My great grandmother told the raspberry salesman that she couldn’t give him a mortgage on the farm because her husband owned the property. Therefore, the salesman went to see my great grandfather who was working in the field and told him what he had told my great grandmother. My great grandfather enquired about a minimum selling price for the raspberries and the number of acres that would be required. The salesman’s response was that a hundred acres would be needed and he couldn’t guarantee a price, as he would go broke if he did. In no uncertain terms, my great grandfather told this salesman that he could not and would not mortgage the farm, as he too would go broke. He only had a hundred and forty acres and he needed to grow crops to feed his livestock. The salesman told my great grandfather that he was missing out on the best opportunity of a lifetime; my great grandfather said the salesman was just trying to steal his land. My great grandfather whose voice had a tendency to rise when he got angry followed the salesman back to his car, his voice rising the whole way. By the time, the salesman got back to his car he took off like a bear was chasing him. To this day, nobody knows if my great grandparents missed an opportunity of a lifetime but we still own the farm.