I did not deliver my promised rainbow blog post. While my brain spins out of control with article ideas and new plans, it can wait.
The real reason? I spent the last week in my hometown of St. Alban’s getting stupid-drunk with dozens of old friends and long-lost relatives. Hire me.
St. Alban’s is a dying community. Or at least it was, because now there are houses being built all over the place and a huge road is being created through the marsh right across from my house.
In an attempt to restore some life, every five years the community hosts a “Come Home Year” (typical in small-town Newfoundland). Basically it’s a way to arrange a date (2 weeks) so that everybody who grew up in the bay can come home at the same time and reconnect.
Reconnect. Key word.
I was unprepared. As soon as I arrived home on Thursday evening, my phone started ringing. My friend’s band was playing at The Warehouse Lounge. I got a ride there in the box of a truck, beer still in hand. There was traffic, more than two cars in a line!
Half of my father’s family came to visit, as did my mother’s. This might not seem like a big deal, but consider the fact they each have 12 siblings. Consider the fact they’re all drinkers and know how to have a blast. Good, honest, open people.
We had barbecue and shots of liqueur. We roasted weenies and marshmallows on a firepit, then accidentally tipped over the picnic table. All the booze gravitated towards my Aunt M, and we were hysterical with laughter for an hour.
There was a big beach party, with fireworks, live music, and cover charge. I walked home with my Aunt M and her husband, who attempted to drag the cooler with a rope tied around his waist and then kicked it into a ditch instead. I had to crawl over the side of the bank to fish out my mother’s pot, and then wore it on my head for the remainder of the journey.
Repeat. I discovered my cousin Jody was not a quiet, soft-mannered woman at all. I partied with her and my cousin April until the wee hours of the morning. The next evening, April and I drank beers outside on the grass with my other relatives, nothing but sweet-smelling lawn, warm air and family. Everyone talked about how the vibe of the town had shifted with the Come Home Year celebrations, unlike any year prior. For a second, I considered moving home.
Plus there was all the amazing stuff I’ve missed.
I guess that’s why Come Home Years are important in Newfoundland, we’re imbued with that sense of community. It’s vital to our existence. Now that we’re all spread out across the country, the town is strung with provincial flags and signs of celebration. Sunday night, the town hosted it’s annual Cancer Benefit, which raises money for local cancer patients. For a community of 1200 people, we’ve been known to reach nearly $100,000 for the whole affair.
So with that reminder of what it’s like to belong and be loved, I’m back in the saddle. (The saddle is my kitchen table and it makes my butt numb, but whatever. More soon.)