31 October 2010

Moms say the darnedest things

The big front page story on the Telegram this Hallowe’en weekend is a story about the chow served to the guests at the Lakeside Hilton, the century old and then some prison that is the centrepiece of the provincial government’s correctional system.

Her Majesty’s Penitentiary.

The piece is called “Dining in at HMP”. The front end of it is a summary of a piece in the Toronto Star that compared local prison fare with that of the jails operated in the Greater Toronto Area.  The rest of it is a summary of the menus served at the Pen  garnished with quotes as fluffy as the mashed spuds that sit on the inmates’ plates next to the roast beef au jus or fresh Atlantic salmon.

The story is not front page fare by any means and it is only marginally less front page-y than the piece underneath.  That one comprises reminiscences by former managing editor Bill Callahan of the time he was a provincial cabinet minister back in the days when the last personality cult seized the good people of the province in its steely grip.  Incidentally that was long before anyone taped keys on walls at newsrooms, but that is to digress. Perhaps it is time for the powers that be over at the Telly to start re0running old Ray Guy columns from around the same time.  If the Mother Corp can recycle Chez Helene or Quentin Jurgens MP surely there is value in 45 year-old humour that is still relevant and savagely funny today.

Anyway, your humble e-scribbler’s mother inadvertently captured the gravitas of the Telegram’s front page Saturday evening with a dinner table comment she meant in all earnestness.

I saw that headline, she said, pointing to the paper over on a table in the living room.  “Dining in at HMP”, she read.  I thought that was going to be another Karl Wells food review.

At that, the family took a break from dinner to clean the shepherd’s pie off the walls.

Spit-takes can be messy.

- srbp -