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LITTLE RAPIDS, N.L. — Some might say Linda Leamon is the backbone of the operation when it comes to keeping things running smoothly at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook.
The lifelong Little Rapids resident laughs when she says even her husband, Shawn Leamon, manager of the cross-country ski facility, would agree.
Linda has been the kitchen manager at Blow Me Down for 17 years.
But she got her start there on the trails, volunteering as a coach in the Jack Rabbit program when their children, Robert Leamon and Shaundel Blaix, were young.
Shawn had been working in Calgary when the manager job came up at Blow Me Down. He’d done a work term there while studying ski resort management and decided to apply.
For the first year after Shawn took over Linda continued to volunteer at the facility.
“I just wanted to meet people and invite people in. And it was just awesome. I just love meeting people.”
The fact that it turned into a job makes it all the more wonderful.
Linda is famous for her cooking that includes lots of treats in the lodge and Saturday morning toutons, beans and bologna at Blow Me Down’s gazebo.
She’ll miss doing it this year because of the COVID-19 restrictions, but still looks forward to seeing the people around the lodge, even if she won’t be able to hug them.
And while she might not get as many opportunities as she used to, Linda still enjoys hitting the trails herself.
“With the hustle and bustle, it’s usually really busy here. I enjoy it because it’s quiet. You go out in the morning, it’s nice and quiet. It’s peaceful.”
But when there’s something happening at the lodge — silent auctions, moose roast dinners, catering to private events and weddings or hosting fundraisers for local organizations — she’s there.
The help cover the loss of bookings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Linda got a bit creative with her skills by holding a few takeout meals and utilizing the moose they had for their dinners by making moose stew and bottling it. She also added bottled soups, chili and pickles and beets to the list of items available for sale at the lodge.
When not at the ski facility, Linda is active in her community as a member of the Steady Brook Little Rapids Regional Fire Service.
She joined the ranks about 19 years ago.
It’s another thing she enjoys doing with Shawn, who has been a member of the department for about 35 years.
Even before she became a member she was always involved.
When Shawn was called out at night she didn’t sleep until he came home. And if the department was out overnight, she’d bring them hot coffee and cook breakfast for them in the morning.
Once their children were teenagers, she knew it was her time to join.
For her it’s about being able to help people, especially in the small communities served by the department.
Linda grew up in Little Rapids and pretty much knows everyone there and most of those who live in Steady Brook and that helps on calls.
“Just to have that familiar face with somebody, it calms them down more.” And her motherly instinct kicks in when dealing with children.
Leamon recently participated in a question-and-answer session with SaltWire Network:
Q. What is your full name?
Linda Marie Leamon.
Q. Where and when were you born?
I was born in Corner Brook, February 1964, a Leap Year baby.
Q. Where do you live today?
Q. What’s your favourite place in the world?
My happy place is over at our camp. Come April probably France will be my favourite place in the world because we’re expecting our first grandchild. But my happy place, no matter what, the camp is my happy place. In the woods that’s my happy place.
Q. What’s been your favourite year and why?
My favourite year would be 1982 when I married Shawn. It’s the best thing that ever happened. We’ve been married 38 years and it’s just like we just started dating.
Q. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?
When I had my kids. That was game changer. And I say that because I didn’t think I could have any. And it was like nothing else mattered in life. I was totally blessed with the two kids I had.
Q. How do you like to relax?
I like to be in the kitchen to relax. I like to cook or bake. Or be out hunting and fishing. That’s my thing.
Q. What do you treasure the most?
What I treasure the most would probably be the memories of my father. I have a quilt with his old work shirts, just a little blanket. That would be it. It’s like you can smell him and he’s been gone almost 19 years.
Diane Crocker reports on west coast news.