Pam Pardy-Ghent: Ode to Newfoundland

“When sun rays crown thy pine clad hills, And summer spreads her hand,
When silvern voices tune thy rills, We love thee, smiling land.” — Sir Cavendish Boyle, 1902.

The words Sir Cavendish Boyle penned about this province of ours  in 1902 still rings true today. My Ontario-born niece feels this island’s call each and every year. Once summer spreads her hand, she heads ‘ome to the loving arms of Newfoundland where her cousin and auntie are waiting to drench her with a much-needed yearly dose of smiling land. 

Of course Nanna and Poppa, with their mug ups, boat spins and family yarns, are never too far away either. Just a hop, skip and a jump to the outport and our very own come from away gets her taste of real rugged rock livin’. 

Whole lot of nothin’

What does my niece love to do when she comes? A whole lot of nothin’. She loves playing outside with my daughter and her street friends. 

Once school is out, heading inside is almost sinful, it seems. On her first night here, after a 2 A.M. wake-up call for her flight, she gently woke me from my night’s slumber with a whispered; “What time do we have to come in?” I sleepily checked my phone for the time then replied; “ah, two hours ago.” 

The girls live for camper life, where structure doesn’t exists and scheduled meal and bedtimes are for amateurs. 

At auntie’s camper, Vienna sausages are a perfect meal-in-a-jar, providing both protein and dairy (when paired with a hunk of cheese or a swing from a milk carton, that is). Add a slice of bread and you’ve got a picnic adventure fit for two queens! What more could you want?

Life’s a beach in Newfoundland. It doesn’t matter if we are hanging around and exploring the CBS T’Railway  for icebergs, snails and crab shells, at the camper paddling a kayak in the pond, or running away from the ocean’s waves while having a beach fire near Nanny’s; water adds the perfect reflection for our pine clad hills. 

‘One of us’ 

And that really is all my niece, or anyone who comes here, is looking for; the experience of being one of us for however long they can. 

And her visits aren’t all that hard on this ol’ auntie’s soul either, for the magic of it for me is this; I get to see this smiling land’s rugged beauty through the eyes of someone who longs for the place her mother once called home. And there’s so much amazing  beauty to be seen through the eyes of a beholder whose heart forever belongs to Newfoundland. 

Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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