“We are going to see the fireworks,” said Dearest Duck, still a firecracker for fun and festivities, despite her vintage.
We hie-dee-hoed — one of us not so hie-dee-hoey as the other — to Fort Fredrick on the Placentia side of the Ambrose Shea Bridge and joined the madding crowd in the windswept square alongside a brace of cannons leftover from the French and English wars.
Canada Day was winding down. It was cold enough to skin ya and most people were bundled up in fleeced hoodies. Nevertheless, some sillies wearing shorts exhibited naked limbs resembling the legs of the blue-footed boobies of Galapagos Island fame.
Shivering and shaking, I backed up against Dearest Duck in hopes of soaking up some of her body heat as cloudy twilight faded to damp darkness. Fog drifted through the Bridge’s frameworks like wraiths and — get this — a group of Local Balladeers sheltered beneath a canopy sang “Grey Foggy Day”.
Canada Day, the first of this summer’s festivities. Always a thrill, eh b’ys?
All summer — give or take a weekend — Dearest Duck has dragged me to the various Fests of Avalon. Here a fest, there a fest, everywhere a fest-fest.
… or a “Day”…
… or a fancy Fest-i-val…
… or a humble Garden Party… … and they were all the same. Occasionally, we towed along a granddaughter to justify our presence, especially in line-ups outside the obligatory Bouncy Castles.
Actually I tended to drift away from those queues to meander among the mob and…well, sometimes buy a hat or T-shirt.
At one fest involving squid, I bought a cap with a wolf — oddly, not a squid — featured on its brow.
And, at some point during the day, even though rocks were splitting in the landwash, Local Balladeers sang “Grey Foggy Day”.
Figuring we weren’t truly heading for the Yukon, I accompanied Dearest Duck and a granddaughter to a fest whose name suggested gold nuggets and northern lights.
I sought shade while a painter [?] transformed granddaughter’s face into something savage and Dearest Duck stogged her iPhone with snaps until Siri screamed, “Enough!”
At the tail end of the line-up for the Chip Van I noticed I was standing halfway beneath the canvas top of a booth selling caps and T-shirts.
Reckoning a cap was as good as shade for protecting my naked noggin, I bought one with a puffin logo and pulled its beak — the cap’s beak, not the puffin’s — down to the tops of my spectacles.
On the far side of the fairgrounds, Local Balladeers sang “Grey Foggy Day”.
I’m unsure of one fest’s location, but it was near saltwater and way, way off in the distance I could see a friggin’ iceberg floating to Bermuda, or wherever. It was the latter part of July for frig sake.
One time it was just me and Dearest Duck. Granddaughter wanted to stay home and, “Do something different.”
“Harry, my fun-fest honey,” said Dearest Duck, “help me select a bracelet from yonder Handmade Jewelry Booth.” Words to that effect anyway.
Ever stalwart, I attended Dearest Duck — with whom, by the way, I’d still dance around a Maypole should we find ourselves at a Spring-Fest — as she elbowed a path to the jewelry tent…
… where it took her only three-quarters of an hour to decide — Surprise! — she didn’t like anything there.
In the meantime I’d sidled into a concession hard by and for $5 bought a T-shirt that must’ve fallen victim to a sloppy print shop. Across its chest in a cursive font was this directive — Kiss Me, I’m A New-Fee.
Ebbing away behind us as we departed the fest were strains of Local Balladeers singing “Grey Foggy Day”.
There’s a fest or two — one featuring pies, Dearest Duck tells me — left before summer’s end, before the clinker of them all.
Labour Day Weekend isn’t truly a fest, I s’pose, but it will mean our annual visit to Friends and Family in some congested RV Park for the final shuff-off of summer.
Dearest Duck will expect me to be civil, to share a sociable swig of Tension Tamer and partake of amicable chit-chat. And stay for the fireworks finale. I shall do so, unless… … unless Local Balladeers sing “Grey Foggy Day”…
… in which case I will make away with myself.
Thank you for reading.