8 November 2006

Two Old Photographs

Two of the old photographs Beer Sr. sent me recently feature his parents on their only visit to Dope City. Like most Newfoundlanders my Grandfather Screech and his wife Edie were never really happy away from the rock and travelled as little as was necessary. If Screech had died before he retired they would have never left The Rock their entire lives. As it was he did retire and retired people are often compelled to have a looksee around the world before they have had it.

The photo I am looking at now was taken on the shore of Real Bad Lake. The Hockey kids are in front of the old folks. Axel and I are wearing blue jeans bought from the Army and Navy department store. The knees are faded almost white on both pairs. We are both wearing Woodwards $1.49 day runners. We used to get a new pair every month. If they were not worn out in one month our little boy feet stunk them up so bad they had to be buried deep in the dump.

Sister Sal is wearing a yellow skirt and a yellow horizontally striped t-shirt. She is looking very mod. She has an expression on her face which suggests one of my other drunk relatives has made a rude joke. Sal is wearing purple flip flops. Her toes are touching the slug infested grass.

Sister Kitty looks like she is having a hard time staying still. Parents are always trying to get their kids to stay still. What kind of bullshit is that? Kitty is wearing navy blue shorts and a top horizontally striped with baby blue and pink. Kitty's feet are so small the grass nearly hides her $1.49 day girl's runners.

We were a geeky looking crew. No wonder we took to the booze like politicians to idiocy.

You can see the white upper arm of Screech because he is reaching down to keep Axel still. A farmer tan is about all a Newfoundlander can hope for. He has the arms of a hard working man and the smile few of you would could manage if you had as many children as he raised.

Grandma Edie has a great big smile too. Her smile was not put there by booze. She was eternally grateful to have survived bringing seventeen Hockey children into the world one at a time. Being an older lady the stripes on her blouse are vertical.

Beer Sr. was sure happy to have his parents visit that summer. Newfies have all been through a lot and are proud as can be of one another for having done so. At the time the picture was taken Beer Sr. had the world by the tail. Wages were rising faster than inflation could eat them up and the motherfucking oil companies had not yet pounced on their addicted customers like hungry bears on a cooler full of sandwiches and beer. It looks like he is asking someone to pull his finger in the photo.

My mom looks like a teenager beside her husband. She has one of those hair band things in her hair and her blouse is buttoned up high like a preacher's wife. Mom loved visting Real Bad Lake. Her uncle and aunt put on some big time wing dings by the deep water and the tall trees. My uncle made pitchers of bathtub gin he served in green glasses that caused everybody to want to have a nap every afternoon.

The second of the two photos feature my mom and Edie in front of the legislature building on Dope Island. My mom's hair is all done up and she looks twenty years older. I guess that's what happens when you party with a couple of real live Newfs for a few days. My grandma looks older in the photograph too. Maybe they were just trying to blend in in the most blue haired city in Canada.

The trees in the background of the Real Bad Lake photo are much older now if they were not uprooted by storms or chopped into firewood. They are the same trees the Hammer and I walked beneath a week or two ago. The house where my uncle prepared bathtub gin for the Hockey gang now has pot plants growing in the bathtub, same as the neighbouring houses.

Grandpa Screech would never have believed the same people he was visiting back then would make the port of St. John's role in the importation of Lebanese hash unnecessary. That's progress.

No comments: