Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walleye Mailbox

Glossary of canvassing terms:
Rap: The conversation you have at a door.
Contact: The person you speak to at a door.
Turf: The neighborhood or area in which you work.
Burb: The van or suburban vehicle that delivers you to turf.

Well once again I didn't raise standard. I honestly think it's the economy. It seems to me so many more people are out of work today compared to when I did this work in 2007. I'm not the only one who didn't make standard. And I came pretty close.

So you look on the bright side and don't dwell on the numbers...

We had a sweet 20-minute lunch drop at Nino Salvaggio's in St. Clare Shores. This is a store my mother and her mother used to love to shop at. I haven't been there in years. They had pistachio gelato today. Yummy. I didn't get any. I would have had to buy a whole container of it and it would have melted. Plus, I'm not really supposed to be eating pistachio gelato. But you know -- that kind of says it all. Where else in Michigan can you get that stuff?

Having a sweet lunch drop is a bright spot in a canvasser's day. We don't always get a full 20 minutes for lunch. That depends largly upon the traffic, the distance to turf, and what we have to do at the Ann Arbor office before hitting the road. Sometimes we only have eight minutes or so for a lunch drop -- just barely enough time to use a bathroom. And sometimes we head to turf that doesn't have someplace cool to get a bite to eat.

For instance, when I first came back to Clean Water Action for my third tour with the organization three weeks ago, I heard horrifying recounts of the anti-environmental lunch drop that had very recently occurred. The canvassers had been dropped at (GASP!)a McDonalds (environmentalists typically don't like McDonalds) and, as if that hadn't been bad enough, it was (Heaven ForBID!!!) right next to a mountainous landfill and a BP Gas Station. According to the canvassers who were recalling for me the horrors of this particular lunch drop, one would have been able to photograph all in the same picture -- the landfill, the BP Gas Station AND the McDonalds. Of course, nobody ate there. They ran across the highway to try to get something from a Subway and apparently were nearly mowed down in traffic during the process. All this to avoid the $1 McChicken. Personally, I am a fan of the $1 McChicken. But I understand I am working with politically correct people and I love them. Really, I love these people.

So we enjoyed our lunch drop at Nino Salvaggios quite a bit. Derick and Thomas charmed a cashier into arranging to have a quiche heated up in the kitchen. They found the quiche to be quite tasty. Will really enjoyed his kielbasa and onion sandwich on rye. Will is a huge fan of onions and has been bumming mints all week to mask the effects of his repetitive onion eating. But today he invested in some mints of his own. Nino Salvaggios is great like that -- a place with produce, quiche, sandwiches and MINTS.

We hit turf with happy stomachs and I set to knocking on doors on Revere Street. At the fourth house I found someone home. Like many of the residents of this neighborhood, the homeowner was interested in our mission to protect the Great Lakes but unable to donate much to Clean Water Action given that he had recently lost his job. I told him I certainly understood the tough times given that I had also lost my job and was now making only about 20 percent of what I had formerly made as a newspaper reporter. I told him every small donation helps quite a bit, so he shouldn't shy away from doing whatever he can. He gave me $5.

And as I was stepping off his porch I noticed his plastic walleye mailbox! So funny I hadn't originally noticed it. I suppose I must have still been thinking about lunch and how happy it had made everybody to have twenty minutes and so many options.

"Oh my," I said as I tapped the fish head. "This is quite a mailbox!"

"That's a walleye!"

"Yes, I know. I'm from Tawas. We used to eat these guys all the time. Very tasty!"

"You don't get them anymore."

I had heard something about the walleye fishing being greatly reduced from the years of my childhood. We had so many yellow perch back then, too. But these wonderful fish are not as easy to catch as they were back then. The ecology of our lakes is
different now.

"Sad," I said, petting the walleye mailbox.

"Yes," he said. "Everything's changing."

"Thanks for the donation."

"Keep up the good work."

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