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A Mist in the Bay


Every summer Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a number of communities host home coming celebrations. Three such events have already taken place on the peninsula this year in Burin - its first, St. Lawrence and Little St. Lawrence.

Every summer Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a number of communities host home coming celebrations. Three such events have already taken place on the peninsula this year in Burin - its first, St. Lawrence and Little St. Lawrence.

Other communities in years past have hosted similar events to spur individuals, who have left for whatever reason, to return home to their roots.

This past weekend, an emotional and heart-wrenching come home year/reunion went ahead in Placentia Bay - in the resettled fishing community of Port Elizabeth.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals headed to the island community in boats. Of course, some of them had never seen the home of their parents or grandparents after 40 years of the community's resettlement.

In this provincial the word 'resettlement' is almost looked upon as a scourge. It conjures up thoughts of people being forced from their places of birth.

And in many instances, those who left felt this was the case when the provincial government insisted it could no longer, if it ever did, offer needed services such as a teacher, water and sewer, etc. in each and every community around the coast.

Then there were other communities that were resettled out of the residents' own volition. They were unable to make a living there, or the desire was in their hearts to make a better life elsewhere for themselves and their children.

Whatever the reason for leaving, returning is definitely an emotional experience. Whether it's returning to the ground one grew up on, or rekindling lost friendships of a long ago youth.

The headline on this viewpoint - 'A Mist in the Bay' - is taken from a CD and a song written by Lev Jackman, formerly of Bay D'Espoir and now living in New Brunswick as a retired RCMP officer. But he could be reading this in Garnish today.

He recalled going back to a deserted community his father had grown up in, and one he had spent many summers with his grandparents, fishing with relatives and friends. That reunion was in Grole, Hermitage Bay, in 1989.

The memories of the reunion haunted him for more than a decade before he penned a number of songs for a long thought of project. There are other songs on the CD about his childhood, and of growing up in outport Newfoundland.

'A Mist in the Bay' reflects the sorrow he saw in the eyes of an old friend who had fished out of Grole since he was a young boy, close on 50 years. The old man was standing staring out the bay, with tears in his eyes, recalling his old fishing grounds where he used to set his lobster pots and haul his nets.

Many Newfoundlanders returning to their place of birth after being uprooted in numerous outport communities, or perhaps only being able to think about earlier days, pour a mist of their own out over the bays in which their hearts remain today.

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