Well, it’s been a busy few weeks here at Them Days! (I know it seems like I say that all the time, but it really has been very busy this year.) I have yet to report on pretty much everything I’ve done since February!! So let’s get it started, starting with the most recent things.
Two weeks ago, we started hosting storytelling workshops with Gary Green, a retired educator and respected storyteller based in St. John’s.
We started these storytelling workshops because we wanted to continue with the story walks we started last summer around Happy Valley. A few organizations expressed interest in expanding the reach to beyond our area, so we got a grant to bring up Gary to Labrador communities to teach people about telling stories. Gary conducts story walks in St. John’s, so he knows just what’s best.
Our schedule was: Rigolet on April 27th, Hopedale on the 28th, Nain on the 29th, Goose Bay on the 30th and Cartwright on May 1st.
Well, the weather decided not to cooperate. Gary was lucky he even made it in at all from St. John’s! But he did, and on the right day and everything! (Just several hours late.)
On Monday, Gary and I arrived at the airport bright and early at 6:30, prepared to get on the early flight to the north coast. The coast was just improving, weather-wise, and people who had been stuck here for five days or so were finally going to get their chance to go to Nain and Natuashish and Hopedale…but NOT to Rigolet. There was so much traffic going up there, and coming back! There was a plane full of young teenagers who had been up in Nain for the regional Heritage Fair who were very excited to come back home! The airport was buzzing…it might as well have been Pearson or Heathrow, just, you know, smaller planes.
We waited until 3:30, when they announced that the flight was officially cancelled. So we made changes to our tickets and decided to go straight to Hopedale instead. I brought Gary back to the office for a look around, and to read some magazines.
The next day, we were back at the airport bright and early to try again. This time, it wasn’t looking looking good for Hopedale, but the weather was lifting in Rigolet! Erg! The day we tried to go to Rigolet, we couldn’t go there, but people were going to Hopedale, but when we tried to go to Hopedale, people were going to Rigolet and not Hopedale!!!
Later in the morning, a flight to Rigolet was announced for 12:30. I asked at the counter and the chances of getting to Hopedale were only so-so. So we decided to do some quick switching around, and arranged to go to Rigolet instead of Hopedale. We didn’t want to sit around in Goose Bay another day, not getting out to the coast at all, if we had a chance of getting out. And if we did get out to Hopedale, it was looking like it would be much later in the day (plus the longer travel time added to that). So I called up Jill, who was getting things done that I couldn’t at the airport, and she arranged for everything to be going ahead in Rigolet. (THANKS JILL!!)
Then 12:30 came…and went. As did 1:30. And 2:30. It was probably closer to 3 by the time we got out of Goose Bay…and wouldn’t you know it, the flight to Hopedale was scheduled to go not long after ours!
We felt especially bad then about missing Hopedale, but at least we were on our way to Rigolet! We had a great workshop there, and the participants were SO enthusiastic. We went until almost 10:00 at night! (With a break for supper, of course.) Our workshop was held in the beautiful Strathcona House. What a wonderful setting for telling stories of the past!
The next day, our flight was delayed. Of course. But we made it to Nain about five hours past our scheduled time. We did a portion of our workshop with another group of enthusiastic participants, and continued our workshop the next morning. In the evening, I gave Gary a tour of Nain, and visited a friend. I was sad to leave both Rigolet and Nain after such short visits!
Our flight out of Nain was the only normal one (the only one without delays) of our whole trip! We got back into Goose Bay at lunchtime, wolfed down some food at Mariner’s Galley (we figured a buffet was the fastest way to eat on the go!) and headed out to the gorgeous Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club for the afternoon’s workshop.
We held the workshop in the comfort of the ski lodge lounge, on couches and upholstered chairs. Ahhh!
After the workshop was over, I jetted off again–this time, straight to the Labrador Heritage Society Annual General Meeting! I had been asked to give a talk and show a video, which I did. The AGM was held in the new Labrador North Chamber of Commerce Building, which will also be the new Visitor Information Centre. It was the first meeting held in there. It has been renovated just beautifully, with canoes and forms made by Joe Goudie hung from the ceiling as light fixtures. Very modern! I just loved it!!
In the end, we couldn’t go to Cartwright–our ride’s vehicle was in the garage, car rental agencies were denying rentals for drivers going to the south coast because the roads were so bad, and while we could find people going out, we weren’t guaranteed a ride back…so we put it off until later in the summer, when the roads are better. What a week!
Anyway, that’s it for now, but I’ll have more to say on the last couple of months soon!