Sum­mer fes­ti­vals

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters My Im­per­fect Slant — Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever After in Dunville. He thinks it’s cool to live in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. He does not think it cool to live in a prov­ince that taxes books. Reach him at gh­wal

“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.

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