During the campaign, interactions with my friends took on a Monty Python flavor. On our morning walks, Edna would grin and refer to me as Your Worship. When our recording-artist friend, Gary Kehoe, came to visit, he quipped that, if I won, they would have to call me the mayorionette. Gary also gleefully noted that the BCA ad for Bill Copeland’s fundraising dinner had a ticket price of $100 and slogan that read: Burnaby loves Bill. The cost of my fundraising dinner was only $60, so Gary suggested we should promote it with the slogan: You can love Elizabeth for only $60!
There was certainly no danger that I’d develop a sense of my own self-importance. Max and the girls were also on TV when CBC came to interview me. Their cameo was much more appealing than my two lines, which, taken out of context, were rendered meaningless. The next morning, Edna was so excited about the newscast. She raved on about how magnificent Max looked and declared him a regular Rin Tin Tin. That summed up the impact of my appearance, but I agreed with her entirely.
Max rolled with the punches during the campaign months, though the stressed household atmosphere make him a bit antsy. When we took him to school for show and tell with Katie’s class, he was a proper little fidget bum and kept barking at a naughty boy who was staring him down from the front seat. The class found this most entertaining, but needless to say, I didn’t. He was also becoming naughty about foraging for food. Edna’s mother, Jean, used to leave food out for the squirrels, and we always knew when she’d been through the trail because Max spent most of his walk on his hind legs, looking into hollow stumps and stealing the peanuts.
Max continued to be gallant with females, one day adding a pretty Dalmatian called Maxine to his entourage. But trying to keep up with his training was a challenge, especially as I was constantly tired. Juggling mothering, household chores, Halloween shows, singing lessons, trips to skating contests, and campaign demands was proving tough, especially as Caroline was now pre-teen, and was reaching the stage where she could be just as out of bounds as Max. However, she was turning into a lovely skater, so it was a joy to see her progress. Katie, too, was becoming very artistic, and would round up the neighbourhood children and direct them in little shows that she had created.
You would think the effort of coping with all these responsibilities would have kept me slim, but I found that running for Mayor wasn’t good for my weight or my digestive tract. My children weren’t so keen on campaign meals either. Prior to leaving for the BVA fundraising dinner, I had a big battle with Katie over which jacket she should wear. She wailed, “But I have to have a coat with zip-up pockets. I need them for —” Then she paused. Caroline finished the sentence: “—for her brussel sprouts.” I felt the same way after weeks of breakfast engagements and rubber-chicken dinners. A diary note refers to one event: “Lunch was dreadful. Glad I didn’t pay for it.” Another time, our candidates were asked to speak at the Sikh temple, after which we were invited to the church hall for very exotic food. I could have definitely used Katie’s zip-up pockets on that occasion. Home cooking never tasted so good as it did during the campaign.
Further indigestion was created by the behavior of some of our candidates. At one event, I had to calm two warring candidates who were carrying on like angry four-year-olds. Hugh also became very intense, and would sometimes get into heated arguments with members of the team or write terse notes on their brochures. Then, after dealing with all these misbehaved two-legged males, I’d have to do the daily workout with my misbehaved four-legged male. On the plus side, Gary Gibson’s dog-training techniques seemed to apply to the difficult humans too. There were a lot of similarities between training candidates and training Max.
As I was preparing to meet my political Waterloo, Max suffered a mortifying putdown too. On the morning walk, as we reached the woods, a lady emerged from the trail. She was accompanied by a small leashed dog, but a striped cat sloped out behind them. The woman warned me that her cat might attack my dog. I laughed, thinking she had a great sense of humour. But the next moment, the wretched cat, whose name appropriately was Caesar, arched, hissed and launched itself at Max. Poor Max howled, lay down in submission, covered his face with his paws and yowled for mercy. Caesar ignored his pleas, delivered a couple of lashes and bloodied his nose. Max hung his head all the way home.
Edna observed that she kept cats out of her garden with a water pistol containing vinegar. She suggested that I could add oil to the mixture for the next time we met Caesar and train Max to think ‘salad’. While I never tested her theory, I did get some great show lyrics from the concept to go with a Caesar puppet that Hugh created for The Sausage Thief so Max didn’t suffer in vain. But there was no question that he and I were both feeling somewhat embattled. It was going to be heavenly getting back to normal after election day.