Ray Guy was my favourite columnist ever. His columns were the best, by anyone, anywhere.
For the past decade, Guy wrote a monthly column for The Northeast Avalon Times.
The paper has a circulation of 5,500. There are far more fans of Guy than that. Too many Newfoundlanders (and Labradorians) missed out.
There are anecdotes I want to tell, and laudatory adjectives I want to use.
But instead, I'll pay tribute by giving today's space to Guy, with excerpts from his Times columns.
My wife, Kathryn Welbourn, is the owner and editor of The Northeast Avalon Times.
I have access to all Guy's Times columns. I didn't ask her permission. She can't stop me.
Let's celebrate Ray Guy this week, and always.
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November 2003: Everyone else stops short of ballyragging the Newfoundland voter. Our ills are due to some great mystery: God doesn't love us anymore; Ottawa is dragging us down; dogberries are too plentiful or El Nino is gone off the head again. But it's us, stupid!
... Somebody has got to say that after all these years and after all these disasters and all these scoundrels and their cheap tricks, there's plenty of blame to go around. I felt guilty when our own children had to clear out of Newfoundland - not that they went, but that they had no choice. I feel guilty that I didn't shout louder, roar harder, snarl fiercer back when it might have made a speck of difference.
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December 2003: Most of the time I was guilty as hell. But the few times I was chastised for something I didn't do hurt infinitely more.
This was when I was a boy, a time when you were always open season for any adult who felt the compulsion to wring your ears, kick your arse, whack you in the head or lash you about the person. It took a whole village to raise welts on a child.
... All I got was a few slaps up the earhole for allegedly - but not, in fact - milking one of Mr. Trowbridge's nanny goats into a rusty bean can. So small an injustice, so tiny a punishment. Yet why do I remember it a half-century later.
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April 2005: On the morning they were blasting off for the moon, my father came downstairs, looked out the kitchen window and said, "Well, they got a fine day for it, anyhow." Fine day in Arnold's Cove, same down in Cape Canaveral. It's the Newfo-centrism in all of us.
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August 2005: When I saw (L'Anse aux Meadows), nothing had been dug or replicated. A rocky beach, a bit of scrub and some grassy hummocks. But perhaps there was an advantage to letting your imagination fill in the blanks.
I think I was then in full nationalistic mode. The sound of playing children came from a small community not too far away.
I remember putting down the poor brutes of Vikings for being quitters and softies ... if they'd been as tough and steadfast as Newfoundlanders, they might have been watching their kiddies playing around the dooryard today. Cripes, I has a bad case of it!
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April 2006: I am no stranger to your common blackfly. I have experienced them in the bowels of Labrador and on one occasion in Churchill, Manitoba, where they gang up and carry away largish polar bears.
But the St. Philip's blackfly is a creature from another planet.
Every spring at this time, I'm out in the yard with my arms around the last piece of dirty snowdrift, tears streaming down my cheeks.
"Don't go, don't go for the love of God. For as soon as you do THEY will return and the horrors will commence anew."
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at email@example.com