PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. - Down on MacDonald Drive in Channel-Port aux Basques on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 8, a family reunion was well underway. Relatives and friends from Alberta and Ontario have descended en masse to help celebrate Sandra Hardy’s 65th birthday.
The relative quiet of the short dead-end street is broken first by their revelry before Herb Cowen bellows at his relatives, “Am I a tourist anymore?”
Herb married a local girl, Sherry, 23 years ago after they met in Ontario where they still live. After visiting, Herb fell in love with the area too and bought a cabin in the MacDougalls Beach area. Apparently, none of that counts.
The Hardys holler back in unison, “Yes!”
“I just love it here,” says Herb, shrugging off their good-natured jabs. “We came back down for 10 days, and I brought my mother who is 84, and absolutely loves Newfoundland. She’s come about four times with us and every year she says, ‘Are you going? Can I come?’ She loves it.”
This summer the answer was yes and yes.
His wife Sherry is quick to point out that, unlike her husband, she is a real Newfoundlander. She was born on this street, on which there have always resided many Hardys. She spent summers here running around with her siblings and cousins.
“My grandmother bought this whole end of this street,” says Sherry, pointing out the house her grandmother used to own. “We used to watch the boats going through (the harbour). She had that window in her kitchen when I was a kid.”
Her grandmother gave land to her siblings and children, and the Hardys still own four or five homes on the street.
“I’m going to put in a thing that they need to change the name of this street to Hardy Drive,” offers Herb.
“When they named it MacDonald I couldn’t believe they did it because it was always us,” agrees Sherry. “It was all her (grandmother’s) end of the street.”
Street name aside, it’s clear the Hardy clan will continue to dominate this end of the street for a few years yet.
“We really do have a good time when we’re together,” Sherry later texts. “I just wish everyone could have made it, (but) that rarely happens. This picture is why our street should be Hardy Lane.”
In the list of names Sherry wrote the following in brackets beside her husband’s name: Ont., not a real Newf.
It may take Herb a while yet to achieve that honoured status.