Vivian here, covering for Jennifer today while she rests her back from berry-picking this weekend. She loves this time of year when the partridgeberries are ripe, and when they grow on your own land, it is oh-so-convenient to pick them to your heart’s content.
But what does October mean to me? Sure, I like roaming around the bushes on the point, helping to gather berries—although Jennifer says all I basically do is get in the way with my head bunts and demand to be petted—and I enjoy the fact that when I go outside I don’t have to sit in the shade to keep cool anymore.
But what I dearly love to do in our garden is roll around in my happy place: a mysterious patch of something that grows among the grass, moss and lichen in one particular spot. It seems to have the same heady effect on me as catnip!
Check out Maisie and me below, enjoying our special spot. She blends in better than I do! This pic was taken a few years back. We can’t help but think of my sister fondly whenever I go out there.
I still miss Maisie,
but when the sun is shining,
the wind is light, and my peeps
are out and about with me,
I’m in a state of bliss.
“In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.” ~ Alexander Smith
Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – JKP
In a fishing village like Newtown, you will often see brightly-painted buoys adorning fences, rails and walls, particularly in summer.
While buoys of all types are still used for fishing. . .
. . . many are adapted solely for decoration.
As fall approaches, most of the buoys will be put away until next summer, but some embellish the landscape all year round.
When creating the title for this post, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Don Henley song, The Boys of Summer.
“I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone.”
Of course, if you are from anywhere besides the U.S., my play on words makes sense.
All other English-speaking countries pronounce buoy like “boy”, whereas most Americans pronounce it “boo-ee”. I wonder why.
And if that’s the case, how do Americans pronounce “buoyant” and “buoyancy”?
How do you pronounce buoy?
(And can you tell I’m not
ready for summer to end?)
Alexander Perry, or Skipper Alex (aka Alec) as he was called by many, was my husband’s grandfather. For those that don’t already know, our home on Perry’s Point for the past ten years is the same home in which Alexander and his wife Mary Jane lived and raised their large family.
Alexander worked as a skipper on a number of fishing schooners. He made many trips to Labrador to fish for cod, which he brought back to Newtown to be cured before it was carried by ship from St. John’s to England and sometimes Jamaica.
Although I never met the man, I’ve heard many good things about him. Skipper Alex was widely admired for his seafaring abilities, his pleasant disposition and gentle spirit, and his flair for storytelling. Locals loved to visit with him—or he with them—to be regaled with colourful tales of his experiences. Of course, having a love of stories myself, I wish I could have known him back in the day.
Below is a letter from Pompano Beach, Florida that Paul found in a box in the attic when we renovated our house. It was written by John Maxwell Barbour, known as Max, the eldest son of Captain Alphaeus Barbour. I imagine the letter meant something to Alex for him to hold onto it like that. He would have been 81 when he received it, and Max, 69. I typed the letter out for easier reading.
Jan. 22, 1969
Dear Skipper Alex,
This carries to you and to your good wife my warm congratulations on your 56th wedding anniversary.
Seeing your excellent picture brought back many memories of my boyhood days in Newtown and of our many contacts, all of which were pleasant and helpful in shaping me for the years ahead. To put it quite plainly, during that period you were one of my favourite adults and without question your personality made a good impression on me.
To my mind’s ear the sound of the guns fired at your wedding still comes thru. I recall the happy occasion well altho I was not old enough then to be a guest.
My wife joins me in sending you and your wife best wishes for continued health and happiness.
Very sincerely, Max Barbour.
Many thanks to Lester Barbour for giving me some background on Max.
Photo credits: James Maine
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to compose an original post. So today I’ll share a post from exactly five years ago, a nostalgic look back to simpler times.
When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown – the little community in which we live now – to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that Paul’s oldest sibling David could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs.
On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued through tears, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.
On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.
Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.
Let’s go back a couple of years when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”
Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer vacation in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety.
Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.
It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.
Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. 🙂
Although only one presumptive case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been announced here in Newfoundland and Labrador at the time of this posting, much of the province has already shut down out of caution.
Thankfully, I still have two of my favourite things to occupy me while I worry: books and cats!
Interestingly, Vivian seems to love books too.
On the other hand, I have no pics of Maisie hanging out with books. Perhaps she’s illiterate? Anyway, it’s all good. She often cuddles up close when I’m reading.