Monday, February 18, 2008

Second home

 I've had the privilege of living in three beautiful Canadian cities - Victoria, Halifax, and Vancouver. And while I've never called it home, a little part of me will always live in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, where my husband is from. Gabled roofs atop shingled walls dot the landscape and white dogs turn red from the clay earth. There is always something simmering in the slow cooker, and you wave to everyone you pass on the road because you know them. You don't go to June and Herb's, you go through June and Herb's. They are not cars, they are rigs. And when you buy a pack of gum at the store, chances are a neighbourly chap will point out that you've got some chewin' to do.

My father-in-law is a lobster fisherman and one of the greatest guys I know, second only to my own dad. I've gone out on the boat only once for business, and I have to admit I spent most of the morning sleeping in the warmth of the bunk as my husband and his brother hauled traps in their oilskins. They let me be, although I don't think I'll be hired as a deckhand anytime soon.

We spent last holiday season there, and played a mean game of spoons on Christmas Eve until blood was shed. We fell asleep in darkness; not a streetlight, not a headlight, not even the moon. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face as I lay in bed listening to the black waters of the Northumberland Strait, not a quarter of a mile to the south, across a frozen field.

It wasn't until a few days before we flew home that the last snowstorm of the year finally arrived and left everything it touched still and quiet, and the sky a silvery grey.

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