Reconnection and Celebrating a Newfoundland “Come Home Year”

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!

Long lost friends

Long lost friends

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.

Can you tell were related?

Can you tell we're related?

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.

Like this.

Like this.

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.)

  • http://blog.alulai.com Cammy@ClassroomConfessions

    The “come home year” concept is really sweet! Looks like you had a blast :)

  • http://www.spunkygirlmonologues.com SpunkyGirl

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend, Candice. I love that your hometown does that. It’s a great idea. We moved all the time when I was growing up and I’m kind of jealous of people who lived in the same town the whole time. For me, my hometown is the place I lived the longest, it doesn’t hold any special meaning for me.
    BTW- loved the photo of all of you drinking. Too funny.

  • http://corn-bean.com linlah

    Come home week at my small berg would involve, oh I don’t know as I’ve never been invited back.

    Glad you had fun.

  • http://www.noplacetobe.com Poi

    What a great thing to be invloved in. You’re very lucky, nothing like that would happen here in a million years.

  • http://www.driftersblog.com/ JR Riel

    I love the idea of a “Come Home” week to reconnect and get back in touch with your roots. I guess my home towns come home scene would be all nighters at the harbor and hiking to waterfalls. Good to see you guys had fun. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://solofriendly.com Gray

    Like a high school or family reunion, only for the whole town? What a great idea! Do people really reconnect in a long-term, continuous way, or is it “That was fun, see you again in 5 years”?

  • http://ibackpackcanada.com Corbin

    Woah candice, I’ve been away from your writing too long. I had to get caught up on the last 3 or 4 posts. Sounds like a pretty dramatic couple weeks, but way to be awesome and just smile you’re way through it all. You rock, and drinking rocks, and this come-home-year stuff sounds like it also rocks. You newfies got a good thing going on. What with the Allen Doyle and the rum and jigs and fun stuff of that nature. lol.

    Hope you keep in touch with friends and family better than I have, I suck. I lose touch with everybody. lol. But on the plus side it makes the reconnect that much better!

  • http://www.deliciouschaos.com Nick

    Sounds like a blast, mate! Though… I’m kinda surprised you put your mum’s pot on your head. Didn’t your Aunt have any papers? ; )

  • maggie

    wish i was from your hometown! i don’t really have a home town :( that sounds like the most fun ever.
    BUT. I keep waiting for a picture of you with a pot on your head. seriously. ;P
    take me with you in 5 years? ;D

  • http://annemerritt.blogspot.com Anne

    Sounds like a great time! I love a big boozy family event.
    Is that a cow in the swimming photo? If so, I’m definitely booking a trip to your hometown.

  • http://www.overyonderlust.com Erica

    This sounds heavenly! Sometimes I wish I lived away from my family so I could appreciate them a bit more (and them ME!). So, in a town of 1200, what does the population grow to during the Come Home weeks?

    Also, side note, I think my fam wouldn’t be so bad if they drank lol.

  • http://www.travelfunnytravellight.blogspot.com Claire

    and by “my mother’s pot” do you mean of the metal variety? or….otherwise??
    haha.

  • http://www.brendansadventures.com/ Brendan van Son

    Reminds me a lot of my hometown out in Alberta… nice post!

  • http://countryskipper.com/ Sabrina

    What an awesome tradition! I live far away from home and I’d be thrilled to go back every five years and have a blast with family and friends. How cool!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    LOL it’s true, we know how to have fun! Now it’s back to reality and figuring shit out. But thanks for being in touch!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Oh god! I really should have reconsidered that word choice…

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    DEFINITELY taking a busload of people with me for the next trip. They cannot miss out.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hahahaha, I highly recommend a visit, it’s about as remote as it gets.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    LOL, I tell my mother that all the time, she just needs a drink every now and then…

    That’s a good question about the population, but I say it grew to nearly 5000. It was THAT whacky around here.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hahaha, I REALLY wish I had reconsidered that word choice…

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Thanks, Brendan! Didn’t realize you were from the oil land.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    It’s VERY cool, I LOVE it! I guess its’ also a big hit here because it’s so common for people to move. Sad, really.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    It’s awesome, totally had a blast!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Yeah, sometimes I resent being from a small town as I never had the opportunity to do a lot of things I wanted (like take dance classes, hah), but I’m glad I have those strong bonds for life now. :) There’s pros and cons, I guess!

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    I’d be surprised if I got invited back as well, hah.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Thanks, Poi! It’s a fun event for sure.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Hahaha, hiking to a waterfall was precisely what my father and I did the next day.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    Well, I think we’re permanently connected in a long-term way regardless…if I run into someone i went to school with 10 years down the road without having spoken to them for that period of time, it’d be like we were never apart, anyway!

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