Rake up the garbage. Fill in the potholes. Paint the fences. It’s Come Home Year. Where? Everywhere!
From Cape Onion to Cape Spear, there are committees frantically planning events to entice people from Bermuda to Bangkok to get their backsides in gear and back to the place of their birth.
No, I’m not forgetting the rest of you. From Nain to Lance au Loup, they’re expecting people by land, sea and air and possibly parachute. They’ll be passing out 20-pound lead weights to carry in your pocket to keep from being carried off by Big Land big flies.
This summer, you won’t travel more then 20 clicks from any point on the compass in this province without running into banners strung across the highway welcoming you back to Big Rock Cove and their Come Home celebrations. Wonderful stuff!
I know I told you this before, but there may be some who missed it and it does bear repeating. A few years ago, I was travelling from Whitbourne to Hant’s Harbour for another one of those marvellous Come Home/Reunion type things (Hant’s Harbour is my “emotional” home) and ran across a scene that would have won a prize in Downhome magazine if I’d had my camera.
A Volkswagen was stopped almost in the middle of the road. The licence plates showed them to be from somewhere in the southern States, but I don’t remember where. An older couple was standing by the car and gazing upward to a banner stretching from a tall tree on one side of the road to a telephone pole on the other. Their eyes were wide open and their faces registering complete shock. The banner read:
“WELCOME TO DILDO!”
Now that doesn’t mean much to us, because we’re all used to that name as being a beautiful little community in Trinity Bay. But imagine this nice old conservative couple from Mississippi or Kentucky, for whom the word “dildo” has only one meaning. They probably wouldn’t say the word if their mouths were full of it. Perhaps I should have said that another way, but you know what I mean.
I can see the old guy saying to his wife, “What have we gotten ourselves into, Priscilla?” And her response, “I don’t know Josiah, but I think we’d better go back. Lord knows what they’ll do to us if we’re caught out in the open.”
I should explain that I don’t know if the communities named above are having Come Home celebrations or not. I was just using the names without the permission of their municipal councils. So don’t go rushing off to Cape Onion expecting a parade and a big dance before checking it out.
I do know Big Brehat is having a Come Home this summer — that’s where my mother was born. Please note: this is distinct from Little Brehat, where nobody lives anymore, so they’re not having anything. Miles Cove is (turn off just before you get to Roberts Arm). Their celebration is Aug. 11-14.
I know where there’s one heck of a Come Home Year celebration. It’s the town Other Half and I chose to make our home 39 years ago. It’s chock full of the most wonderful people you’ll find in a year’s journeying by fast trap skiff. It’s situated on a beautiful bay surrounded by scenic hills and top-notch salmon rivers. It’s home to one of this country’s most beloved writers. Springdale!
Where else would it be but Springdale? And Springdale-like, it’ll be among the biggest and the best celebrations ever.
I’m trying to figure out how to fit it all in. There’s one intriguing event I just have to be at: the 3B luncheon! 3B? Baked Beans, Buns and Boiled fruitcake! You may notice that there are actually four Bs here, but we Springdalers are a modest people. (Boiled fruitcake?)
If I had the space, I’d list it all, but I’d need the whole entertainment section of this paper to do it.
For you who like to trip the light fantastic, there are enough dances to put your back out for a year. If you are of a spiritual or religious turn of mind, there are enough church services to keep you going until the next announcement of the impending rapture.
But great heavenly day! The Irish Descendants and the irrepressible Terry Rielly will be here. There are outdoor and indoor movies for kids and adults. Whoa up, now! I didn’t say there would be adult movies. At least, I haven’t been able to find out where they are. Send me a self-addressed, stamped, plain brown envelope and I’ll let you know soon as I know.
There will be sports events for all ages, more food of all kinds than the entire provincial Liberal caucus could eat in a year — OK, so that’s not much — and drama productions all over the place. Just a wonderful week, beginning July 29.
And one more thing: my special baby! We’re doing a variety show that will cause you to laugh hard enough to … let’s just say we’ll be handing out Depends at the door. Two shows in one night to accommodate everyone who wants to attend, and that’s just about everyone.
Don’t forget to register if you want to be sure of getting tickets for the variety show and other special events. Much of what’s going on is free with your registration. Other events simply require you to be registered. Go to www.townofSpringdale.ca and click on “register now.” Come Home celebrations are a way for Newfoundland and Labrador towns to strut their stuff, do their thing and otherwise have a blast. Many community-minded people work hard to make it happen, and make you proud of who you are and where you came from.
Even if you’re just a visitor, or you still live in the town of your birth … come and take it all in!
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.