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Thank you, Newfoundland

By Deb McGrath
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As our trip to Newfoundland stretched out before us, I knew I would blog about it and I knew instantly that the theme would be gratitude to the people of Newfoundland.

 

So it’s serendipitous that in the last few days, I started reading so many words of thanks to the people of Newfoundland from the stranded passengers of 9/11 who were taken into their homes and made to feel like family.

 You have to understand something about Newfoundlanders. They are funny. They are warm. They are fun. And they are the kindest people I have ever met in my travels, bar none.

When I was growing up in the 60s, Newfie jokes were de riguer and I never understood them. It was a stereotype of the time, but one that never resonated with me. But unlike other stereotypes, it seemed to become accepted––it was “harmless, all in good fun.”

I only lived in NFLD for a few years and I was very young, five and six. But my warm memories are so deep in my psyche that my dreams oft time burst with snippets of that tiny recollection.  And I know that my memories are partly Super 8 film and partly stories and slides, but returning has always been a yearning in me. I have wanted to go back and I did with my boys and joined by a girl.  So a heartfelt thanks, Newfoundland, from the Mochrie/McGraths for absolutely everything.

And Specifically:

The chef and the waitress at Ryan Mansion for their charm and fabulous food.

Buddy who chased us out of the restaurant to give us directions when he overheard us asking someone.

The lady we met at Lighthouse Picnics who, when I told her I used to live in Cornerbrook as a child, walked with us and charmed us with her family history. “My grandfather was born in Cornerbrook, his Dad in Deer Lake where my father’s people were ... now he was an Archer and my Mum’s family was McCubbin. I was born Archer and now I’m a McGee, but my husband’s people on his mother’s side are Toohey’s.” And on it went, only silenced by someone shouting “Whale!”  I know that millions of people every day see whales. I know that. But why is it, that when you see a whale you must scream WHALE!!!!!!!!! as if you were the first person to ever see one? Because IT’S A WHALE!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me????? I am walking along chatting about the lunch we just had and “oh, look there’s a ....WHALE!” A giant stupendous mammal is leaping out of the water. He is bigger than our house. So YEAH, WHALE. You bet I’m shouting. Shout out to the WHALE.

The two gals we met in Quidi Vidi who were picking blueberries to make muffins. Not only did they give us great advice about climbing Signal Hill, but they offered their blueberry stash and insisted we eat some, which we did.

The staff of every restaurant, from Raymond's to the spot on the pier in Trinity Bay where we had fish and chips. Thanks for wonderful warm personal service to delicious meals.

The Rock of the Rock radio station that provided our theme music for the trip.

Fisher’s Loft Inn for their view, their warmth, the details. Rooms with little flashlights, walking sticks and binoculars, great food and a games room that we used every night, allowing me to beat the pants off Luke and Colin consistently with Taboo and Scattergories!!!

Okay, whatever, this is my blog and I am telling the story.

Blue on Water for Sullivan, our host, who pretended my suitcase weighed one pound as he carried it three floors as a result of a broken elevator, smiling and chatting as he went. And to the funkiest en-suite bathroom we have ever enjoyed.

To the gorgeous wait staff at Blue who charmed us through two dinners and three breakfasts, graciously making some of us feel that fish and chips for breakfast was as normal as pie.

To Randy our guide in one of the historic homes in Trinity who was engaging, warm and informative with a stunning accent.

MAN, DOES THAT ACCENT KILL ME!

To Lighthouse Picnics themselves for an innovative idea, delicious picnics, homemade lemonade in glass jars, gingerbread cake and cozy blankets.

To the walk-in clinic in St. John's that I went to on day one and who had me sorted and shipped off within fifteen minutes. Within that time I found out a good deal about the doctor’s life and how he came to live in and love this town.

To the handsome young blond man at the roadside diner and grocery store, who came out of the women’s washroom, as the men’s was full, and said to me as I waited, “A tousand pardens, me darlin’, but despert times caal for despert messures,” and tipped his cap.

To every single person we met, be it Newfoundlander or tourist, who happened to share the same journey with us as we met at hotel after hotel and shared our stories and mutual love of the place we were discovering together.

To the Puffins who we visited and who looked all the world like plush animals in frantic flight and with whom we fell in love.

To the volunteers who take care of the Skerwink Trail and keep it groomed and safe so that we can enjoy it’s unbelievable beauty.

And to our son who turned 21 with a glass of champagne at Raymond's overlooking St. John’s harbour and his lovely girl, Megan, who shared this trip with us in whole and in part, and who made it more than a vacation.

And finally to the owner of the Qidi Vidi Brewery who was giving us our tour and who told us this joke:

So a Newfoundlander and his hard-of-hearing wife were taking a road trip in Ontario.
A cop pulls them over. “Can I see your license and registration, sir?”
The wife says, “What did he say?”
The husband says, “He asked to see my license and registration.”
The cop says, “Where are you from, sir?”
The wife says, “What did he say?”
The husband says, “He asked me where we’re from.”
The cop says, “ Newfoundland, are ya? I had the worst sex of my life in Newfoundland.”
The wife says, “What did he say?”
The husband says, “He thinks he knows ya.”

I am convinced Newfoundlanders possess the secret of life.  The joke's on us.