(Little Thing #144/365):
It’s my last night here in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. All week long I’ve been taking notes, coming back to my room and doing some studying for work back home, but also taking some time to write down things I don’t want to forget. Things I want my sons to know, to remember, to pass on. Some are stories, a few little songs or riddles, a couple of witty sayings we’ve laughed about all week – But ALL of it history.
It’s almost midnight. I’ve got to be up in just a few short hours, but I don’t dare fall asleep before writing this down somewhere other than on my phone as notes. I’m full of emotion tonight. That’s when my thoughts get recorded most accurately. So here’s tonight’s attempt.
Childhood summers in Nova Scotia, three-day drives playing games in the car. Good food. Everyone knows everyone. That’s never changed. Just today I got a honk and a wave – someone I met at Piper’s Pub last night. Another driver by told my cousin she saw me today. “How’d you know someone you drove past was my cousin?” she asked. “She looks just like your brother Brian,” she said.
Nine pages of MacDonald’s in the phone book. Stand on the sidewalk and simply glance across the road and cars in both directions stop in case you’d like to cross. A rich culture, deep roots, family ties that bind us like no other.
Pubs where dinner is hot, the waiter’s name is Seamus, there is never-ending music, stories are passed down, and little girls dance a jig. A family place – all are welcome, age 0-100+… Oh, if the walls could talk.
Concerts in churches, fiddles and pianos, guitars and pipes – strathspeys and reels, hornpipes and jigs. Mountain water fresh from the spring on the side of the road. Long drives up to the Keppoch telling stories (most of them true). Silly songs, and ones that make you cry. Gasperieux Lake, fire flies, Aunt Jean’s house, Uncle Harry’s view of the lake, Jamie’s smile, Ray’s stories, and Josie’s tea…..
Late night chats, flannel pajamas, and a peek in the casket.
And tonight. Tonight I heard folk song after folk song – some of them only those from here would understand. Why the long names?? These roots are deep, our names are long – a list of those who love us waiting for us in heaven. For me, Peter Little Allan, and Grandpa Allan C.
Our roots. Our history. Our music. Our songs. Our dance. My people.
In the words of Grandma Minnie – You’ve all been so good and kind to me!
Farewell, Nova Scotia. I’ll be home again soon!