Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Town By Any Other Name...

Fans of the Arrogant Worms know that Newfoundland has some of the most entertaining town names in the English-speaking world (the Welsh and German might contest a linguistically-generalized claim)

In my Grade 12 year, I won the Northern Saskatchewan Junior Achievement CanJAC award which sent me to Hamilton, Ontari-ari-o to represent Saskatoon & area at a national convention of young entrepreneurs and business people. I remember I shared a McMaster dorm room with a very pretty redheaded girl and a dorm floor with one of the speech finalists who was having a serious case of the nerves, pacing the halls and common room, muttering lines of her speech and gesticulating at a fast forward speed as she rehearsed for the final showdown.

I remember the night of the speech comp because I wore a similar outfit to the Asian girl who ended up winning the competition and spent a lot of the evening graciously accepting congrats and then explaining that it wasn't me they meant to congratulate.

Of all the great memories from that trip, meeting Brian Kidney from Mount Pearl, NL, was the most long-lasting as we maintain our friendship to this day. He had never heard of the Worms and thereby had no idea the song existed so as soon as I got home, I dubbed him a mix tape (!) of all the best Arrogant Worms' songs.

Now, today's shirt obviously came from Newfoundland. Brian and his wife Lori have sent me Newfie-loving shirts as birthday and/or Christmas gifties but (and I could be wrong) I think this one I bought for myself when I was visiting Mount Pearl for their wedding. (Crazy attack trees injuring the groom aside, it was a wonderful wedding). There's a obvious omission to maintain the shirt's "G" rating but it gets the point across. To put a finer point on said point, Brian and Lori and their burgeoning family are about to make the move to Paradise. Seriously awesome.

While on the East Coast topic, this past summer, Jeff's parents let him know that they'd be "gone camping" for a week or two. They often head out to the Rockies or down to Oregon for camping trips all through the summer months so this wasn't unusual. The email we got from NOVA SCOTIA the next week was. They'd decided to take their camping equipment and their VW Golf across the continent. It wasn't until after they'd left NL that we even knew they'd planned on ferrying over to The Rock. I love my in-laws-to-be. And they loved Blow Me Down Provincial Park, one of the few campsites they didn't get rained out of.

I've always felt very lucky to live in a country as large and diverse as Canada (which, btw, gets its name from the First Nations word for "village" or "settlement") and the idea of making my home anywhere else in the world is unfathomable but that doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humour about how a place name can sound to a newcomer. My father's favourite joke about Chilliwack (the town, not the band) was that, to find it, you needed to cross Hell's Gate and travel beyond Hope. And one of my favourite activities to give Social Studies classes is the BC Places Quiz because whether you're from a money river or the left side of a cantaloupe, you should know better than to roll a furry joint and take a cool hit without really knowing the world around you.