I’m on a huge ferry, taking six hours to cross from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. Before boarding, I sat with a fellow from Newfoundland at a Tim Hortons in North Sydney. I had asked a friend of his if I could look at the sports section from his newspaper, and had received an enthusiastic “yes” in response. So I offered to put the gentleman into my will. He seemed pleased with the prospect, but soon toodled off to another table to woo a woman.
So now we were two. I asked my new friend how folks from Newfoundland feel about being called a “newfie”. He smiled and said “depends on the attitude.” As I struggled with his accent, I had no problem with his being. We chuckled together … and then said goodbye.
On the ship, I sat with a mom and daughter from Digby, Nova Scotia, off on an adventure together before the younger begins her university adventures. Taylor was the Prime Minister of Student Parliament in high school and seems to have a firm sense of what leadership is all about. I marvelled at her commitment to contribute and wished for a time machine to view the adult she’ll become.
Now I’m in the forward lounge, facing a straight line of water and sky. Not a ripple of land at the horizon. The simplicity is sweet. I want to be alone with my beer, on a break from human beings. A bit of yin, a bit of yang … and so we go.
Finally the land – Port aux Basques – pastel-coloured houses on a mass of rock. The beauty of the sea bounding the end of the world is stunning. Welcome to Newfoundland, Bruce.
My hotel is on a hill facing the ocean and I sit on a bright yellow chair, taking in the horizon. Way below me I hear music – guitars and accordion punctuated with voices cranking out newfie songs. I go down to investigate. A outdoor dance floor is surrounded by colourful bleachers, and a couple are strutting their stuff. She especially is smiling her way through the twirls.
Now the band moves into a tender one:
Put me in your pocket so I’ll be close to you
No more will I be lonesome and no more will I be blue
The dancers flow and the audience nods in approval. We’re down home together. Nice. I chat with a few folks and lean towards bed.