Come along... to my Newfoundland
August in Newfoundland - a tradition I didn’t mean to break. In the forty-two years since I’ve lived in the U.S., Vince and I have made at least that many trips back to my native province, often with kids in tow. Come visit Grand Falls, where I grew up, nearby Badger Lake, and a few other special places along the island's craggy shores.
Perhaps I’m a little like two-year-old Atlantic salmon returning from the ocean and swimming up the Exploits River to spawn where they were hatched. The growing town of Grand Falls-Windsor sits on a bend of that river, downstream from the hatchery. The township even built a salmon ladder a few years ago to help the fish swim up the falls, an an attraction of sorts for tourists and residents alike.
But if 2020 keeps any promises, it’s that I’ll not make this year’s trip, not on one count, but two. The first obstacle is the closed U.S.A.- Canada border. It’s been several months already, and every planned reopening date gets delayed. No surprise there. Canadian political cartoons show a beaver leaning against the gates of a fort, trying its best to keep out American tourists. Chances are it'll be a while before I even see my sister in Toronto, and that’s only a six-hour drive from my home in Pennsylvania. Sorry Jay!
Even if I made it into Canada I’d still have to figure out a way to get onto Newfoundland. It’s an island about the size of New York State and the only way onto the island is either on a plane or a long ferry ride. This year anyone living outside the Atlantic Provinces and hoping to visit must first apply for a permit.
Many applicants have been denied entry. An ill parent doesn't even warrant permission. Who can blame them? Back in March a Newfoundlander returned from Florida and unwittingly gave Covid-19 to dozens of people who, in turn, gave it to dozens of others. Thankfully the disease is currently under control, as in two new cases (travel-related & quarantined) after being Covid-free for six weeks. I agree that’s it’s unwise for me to visit this year so, as they say on the rock, I will "roll with the tide." Even though I'm quite sad over it, I am doing something about it...
During the month of August I’ll be writing about the places and the memories that tie me to Canada's newest province. This trip down memory lane will be as close as I come to my annual visit home.
By the end of the month you might even think you’ve travelled to a beautiful island in the north Atlantic!