How Ya Get­ting’ On?

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - News - Harold Wal­ters COL­UMN Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com

“How Ya Get­ting’ On?” (Flanker Press) is a col­lec­tion of col­umns about stuff Snook wrote for the New­found­land Her­ald in 2015/2016.

In 2016 the Her­ald cel­e­brated its 70th birth­day.

“Seventy?!” says Snook. “A ver­i­fied, ven­er­a­ble in­sti­tu­tion!”

Tod­dling along a year be­hind the Her­ald, I have to agree with Snook. I re­mem­ber when said pub­li­ca­tion was a tabloid called the Sun­day Her­ald. It was de­liv­ered weekly to most of the homes in our cove, and I — as well as ev­ery other bay­boy in the cove — ripped it open to read “The Phantom” comic page.

Enough about the Her­ald. More about the stuff Snook has re­marked about. Mous­taches, for in­stance. Com­ment­ing on Movem­ber fund rais­ing, Snooks says he sported a mous­tache for 30 years, one that he some­times shaved off on a dare but quickly — well, quickly as pos­si­ble — grew again be­cause, “I just looked too stunned.”

I’ve worn a mous­tache ever since I re­al­ized I’d never have chest hair like a real he-man. I had to do some­thing to de­clare my man­li­ness, eh b’ys?

I shaved it off only once. Daddy’s Boy — then a tod­dler — cried and my sis­ter-in-law un­kindly in­formed me that my top lip looked like a turkey’s arse — the turkey por­tion that when plucked is com­monly re­ferred to as the Pope’s nose.

Snook writes about quit­ting smok­ing, say­ing, “Fig­ure I’m up over forty grand this past decade.”

Long be­fore Snook’s first ap­pear­ance on the cover of the New­found­land Her­ald, me and Mis­sus quite smok­ing be­cause the cost of a pack of cig­a­rettes reached 50 cents.

Fifty frig­gin’ cents!

We hove our cig­a­rette money in a jam jar un­til we’d saved enough to buy a state-of-the-art hi-fi — hi-fi! — fea­tur­ing de­tach­able stereo speak­ers.

Not forty grand, Snook, b’y, but sig­nif­i­cant coinage for the times.

Snook writes about smart phones, lament­ing that when Dougie and Gert both got smart phones they im­me­di­ately en­tered a state of “mu­tual mind­less cou­ple­dom.”

I don’t al­to­gether go along with that think­ing. Sure, me and Mis­sus have iPhones and some­times when we’re sit­ting in our Archie and Edith chairs I text her — Hey, Mis­sus. When she looks up from her phone, I wink and blow her a kiss.

How is that mind­less cou­ple­dom? In a col­umn ti­tled “Art of the Nap” Snook writes about a sub­ject — an art, truly — at which I ex­cel. About napping, Snook says, “A nap is never time wasted.”

Not all read­ers — Snook’s or mine — will agree. The thing about art though is that one’s re­la­tion to it is very per­sonal. Think about Jack­son Pol­lock and smears of paint on can­vas.

Ei­ther it blows your hair back or not, eh b’ys?

In “Get­ting Up There” Snook writes about ag­ing and cer­tain un­de­sir­able phys­i­cal changes that oc­cur — the ten­dency among males, for in­stance, to be­come more hir­sute: “… hair I didn’t ask for seems to be grow­ing in as well, at the eye­brows, in the nose holes, and ears.”

Right on, Snook. Once hand­somely arched eye­brows sprout like Andy Rooney’s and the hair on one’s fore­arms grows longer and drapes from el­bow to wrist like the furry fringe on a sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian ape — our dis­tant kin after all.

Snook writes about fly­ing. “I get the best sleep ever on a plane,” he says.

Not me. De­spite my pre­vi­ously men­tioned tal­ent for napping, aboard a plane I don’t get a wink. Al­though of­ten ex­hausted, I can’t nap. I’m not sure why. Per­haps I’m an­tic­i­pat­ing the even­tual arrival of the snack trol­ley.

About sail­ing on the long-gone Wil­liam Car­son when he was a boy, Snook says, “I was glued to the el­e­va­tor, freaked out by the magic of en­ter­ing a lit­tle room with but­tons and slid­ing doors.”

As a bay-boy trav­el­ling to a foreign province, I sailed on the Wil­liam Car­son in Jan­uary of the year Snook was born. There was noth­ing mag­i­cal about my trip. Caught in a win­ter storm, the ferry rocked and wal­lowed and caused my guts to roil. Scur­ry­ing to the wash­room, I ar­rived to floors awash with raw sewage spewed from the bowls of stogged toi­lets. No magic there, eh b’ys? Snook writes about lots of other stuff — ear­lobes and laun­dry, elec­tions and premiers, lit­ter and the Olympics. If you read all he’s writ­ten and if you re­late to much of it, as Snook says, you might learn some­thing about “how you’re knit, from what kind of wool.”

Thank you for read­ing.

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