The cannery cats were a big part of cannery life and were said to have descended from the cats across the Skeena at Old Ben's place. The cats were very hard to catch if you were stupid enough to even try. Every so often you would find a new litter of fresh babies in places like the net loft.
Terry decided one summer that she would embark on trying to tame a feral kitten. My mum's first reaction was a "NO!" even louder then the no to my dad about the goat. But with a little convincing from dad who mentioned how the kitten would control the rat population around our house, she was in. But the cat stayed outside!
Terry chose a black, grey and white kitten and named her Pixie. The taming methods she used were untested but some would yield excellent results. Canned salmon was a great training tool as long as you did it out of the sight of mum.
However if you tried to pick Pixie up without the salmon you ended up donating a pint of blood. Fresh crab was a bad choice as Pixie found this choice a little rich and threw up the evidence at mum's feet while she was hanging out the laundry. This was bad for Terry too she never used crab again. I headed down the boardwalk to see Daisy and Darla as mum was pretty mad!
I don't think Mum was really ever convinced about Pixie's rat killing skills. She found that a cannery rat had been eating the provisions in the back cupboard. She explained to Dad in a elevated voice that he was to get rid of "all" the rats. So like the Pied Piper Dad set out to do as he was told. He however set out poison around the house, instead of playing a flute. A short time later Terry let out a scream from the side of the house when she found the first victim. Dad had to use the biggest Safeway paper bag to load the rat up and we all marched down to the dock to dispose of it.
A skill that us kids had brought to the cannery was shack building. The alley on 7th ave was a great training ground but lacked supplies. The cannery was a mecca for shack building and supplies.
Our greatest accomplishment was a 2 story apartment behind the fence. That was until dad decided to lend us his skill and the back deck. Dad was a amazing carpenter and seized the opportunity to teach us kids some new building techniques, plus he opened up a whole new supply line. With his help we built the most beautiful pitched roof, two room playhouse. This was far to lovely to have the word shack attached to it. I would spend endless hours in the playhouse as dad even ran power to it. I would read my Nancy Drew's , until it was Terry's turn for peace and quite. As much as we wanted to we never did sleep in the playhouse due to the fact we were not sure of Pixie's rat killing skills either.