A few weeks ago, my buddies Cailin O’Neil (of TravelYourself.ca) and Michael Ciuffini came to visit me in my hometown. Bay d’Espoir. Extreme rural Newfoundland, on the south coast of the central region. As soon as you hit that Bay d’Espoir highway you’ll know what I mean – hundreds of kilometres of land devoid of human life, only the occasional caribou or moose to keep you company. Nothing but evergreen trees and bogs, and empty fields charred by past forest fires. As a kid, I couldn’t figure out why someone would chose to live in a congested city when there’s all this free space right here. (But back then I thought St. John’s was a congested city.)
Cailin and Mike are the very first of my friends to visit me in my hometown, and to meet my parents. In true Newfoundland fashion, my parents fussed over the occasion like they were about to meet Princess Kate and Prince William. I was mostly nervous about keeping my friends occupied. Turns out I didn’t have to do too much.
You know what’s cool? Seeing your hometown through a fresh set of eyes. I introduced them to my relatives, many of whom were visiting for the Morrisville Come Home Year (basically a town reunion every five years). We drank many beers and celebrated a Christmas in July, ringing in the New Year while popping balloons and holding hands with the seniors in a giant circle. I took them around the Coast of Bays, the least trekked part of the province (and thereby one of the most special places). Hell, I even took them to the Potsy’s take-out, and although they were out of chicken fries, we sat at one of those yellow old tables from my teenage years and I recognized the little heart graffiti still there from a decade ago.
I don’t think they wanted to leave. Dad was entertaining enough with his stories.
“Oh yes, I’ve been to Saint Pierre once, back in the day. Rum smuggling.”
A nervous shift of legs, and Dad: “Well, it’s time for another beer.”
Here’s our first Split the Rock video! ENJOY THE HECK OUT OF IT.