Sunday, December 31, 2006

Moose Breath

Sadie misses her hometown.

She lives 30 minutes away from Tickle Cove on a fairly busy road in Charleston. There are kids in the neighborhood, and some parents, but none she is as close to as her family.

In Newfoundland, even a half hour seems strangely far away. I think it might be a relic of outport life, when people were completely isolated from all but the nearest towns and villages and were accessible only when it was safe to sail because there were not any roads. As recently as 50 years ago, Sadie's hometown would have been the end of the world in winter. It sits on a peninsula, straddling a finger shaped inlet of water (called a tickle in Newfoundland dialect). On either side of the inlet, rugged cliffs rise towards the sky. Most of the town is snuggled between these two cliffs, which protect the houses from the full force of the wind.

For Sadie, marrying an Anglican and moving to his hometown a half hour away must have felt like leaving ones homeland for another country.

I sat in her kitchen and tried to carry on a conversation with constant interruption from her youngest daughter. We spoke of her aspirations to go back to college for a few courses, and her dream of getting a job once Anna starts school. We talked about how much she misses living in the rugged landscape of Tickle Cove, and how she doesn't get over there as often as she'd like.

When I first walked in the kitchen it smelled more like a Sunday dinner than a quick lunch with a friend. She made chicken fingers and smiley fries for the kids, but for us, she had made pot roasted moose and homemade mashed potatoes. These she served with pickled beets and a cup of hot tea. I had seconds.

I stayed for a couple of hours, realizing that I MUST be getting used to Newfoundland because I didn't try and clear my own plate and I could understand Sadie's accent much better than the first time I met her, 5 years ago.

In Newfoundland, it doesn't take long to become lifelong friends. This might very well be another artifact of outport life.

No comments: