Beans Not Always a Comfort in the Gold Fields

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On a mild winter’s day, icy air would blow into the cabins, only chinked with moss. Sometimes with the summer thaw, a cabin might move anywhere from 10 feet to 100 feet from its original position, causing a bit of confusion among the Cheechakos, those newcomers that had not yet spent a year in the Yukon. Miners would spend the day with their feet up on cots – anything to get their soles off the frigid floor. Beans would bubble in their cans on a wood-burning stove.

In the spoon would go, lifting out the steaming beans only to turn into solid bullets once they reached hungry mouths. Down the frozen slugs would go, cooling the miners’ throats and stomachs. The miners cursed, and swore that they could almost count each pellet as they passed out their sour ass.

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Joyce

Joyce Derenas is a historical fiction author who writes stories based on the real lives of her French-Canadian ancestors of the Beauce Valley in Quebec.