A Man of My Word

The Compass - - Community Calendar - Harold Wal­ters Book Re­marks Harold Wal­ters lives in Dunville, New­found­land, do­ing his damnedest to live Hap­pily Ever Af­ter. Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com

Beaton Tulk and I have surely passed in hall­ways.

Beaton at­tended Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity dur­ing some of the same years I did — in a pre­vi­ous cen­tury, for frig sake.

We might have passed in hall­ways, eh b’ys.

Re­cently, I passed Beaton in the hall­way of Monty’s Restau­rant in Whit­bourne. We didn’t greet each other be­cause we don’t know each other. We were just a cou­ple of old codgers pass­ing in a hall­way, head­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

How­ever, when I re­turned to the car I said to Mis­sus, “I just saw Beaton Tulk in­side.”

“Beaton Tulk?” she said. “Wasn’t he premier for a spell.”

“He was,” I said. “Af­ter Brian Tobin de­serted us.” “Hmm,” said Mis­sus. “Well,” said I, “now Beaton and Grandpa Pike have a book out.”

“Grandpa Pike?”

“Yes,” I said. “We met him last week at Costco. He was pro­mot­ing his out­house book, re­mem­ber? He men­tioned his new Beaton Tulk book.” “Hmmm,” said Mis­sus. Me and Mis­sus buck­led up and headed home and, al­though I craned my neck, I didn’t see where Beaton went.

Beaton Tulk got in tack with Grandpa Pike — aka Lau­rie Black­wood Pike — in the 1980s when they did some busi­ness to­gether. Now they’re re­united and have col­lab­o­rated on Beaton’s mem­oir “A Man of My Word” [Flanker Press].

“A Man of My Word” had been on my To Read shelf for a spell. Af­ter speak­ing with Grandpa Pike at Costco and then, a week later, pass­ing Beaton at Monty’s, it seemed fit­ting that I pour a mug of herbal tea and read the book.

You know what?

It gives me the shiv­ers how much Beaton and I have in com­mon — up to a point.

Beaton hob-knobbed with VIPs and be­came premier of New­found­land. I’ve frit­tered about here in the shadow of Fame’s un­der­belly.

But when we were bay-boys … well, b’ys.

Beaton and I ar­rived on Earth within three years of each other just be­fore Confederation pupped.

Beaton was born in La­dle Cove. I was born in Lady Cove.

Beaton’s mid­wife grand­mother eased him into the world and slapped his bay­boy-baby arse. My mid­wife grand­mother hauled me into the world and wal­loped my bay-boy-baby arse to get me started.

Beaton’s fa­ther’s name was Japhet. My pa­ter­nal grand­fa­ther’s name was Japheth … with an ex­tra h.

Reared up United Church of Canada, Beaton never met a Ro­man Catholic un­til he went to uni­ver­sity. Reared up United Church of Canada, I didn’t en­counter any Catholics un­til Mammy and Pappy shifted all hands away to live in a for­eign prov­ince.

An aside. When the Granny that didn’t born me learned I was liv­ing among Ro­man Catholics she gave me this ques­tion­ably Chris­tian ad­vice: “Catholic girls are al­right to date but not to marry.”

For frig sake, Granny! At uni­ver­sity, Beaton was re­quired to at­tend a Speech Class to teach him proper pro­nun­ci­a­tion — Mustn’t say “h’in” and “h’out”, young man. While still in high school, I was forced into an af­ter­school speech class to teach me proper pro­nun­ci­a­tion — Must learn to say “think”, not “t’ink”, young man.

Don’t t’ink the worked, h’ay b’ys?

I passed Grade 8 in Lady Cove and re­ceived a bur­sary to do classes Grade 9 in Clarenville.

In brack­ets: When we shifted to the for­eign prov­ince I was en­rolled in Grade 8 be­cause — get this — New­found­land schools weren’t up to snuff. I sooked about my de­mo­tion, failed, and had to re­peat Grade 8.

Re-cap: this scrib­bler spent three years in Grade 8. Failed once. Passed twice, once with a bur­sary.

Joke: What are the three worse years of a bay-boys life? Any­way …

Beaton Tulk was also awarded a bur­sary, in his case to fin­ish high school in Wes­leyville. He re­ceived the bur­sary af­ter he “suc­cess­fully failed grade eleven” in La­dle Cove.

Read the book for the pol­i­tics and par­tic­u­lars.

I liked the first chap­ters of “Man of My Word” more than the “pol­i­tics” parts.

I’m not one for pol­i­tics, but Beaton tells a tale-out-of­school, so to speak, that I like.

Brian Tobin’s Lib­er­als brought in back-to-work leg­is­la­tion to end a nurses’ strike.

“Af­ter the bill was passed,” says Beaton, “gov­ern­ment mem­bers took an un­ortho­dox way out of the build­ing and es­caped with our skins in­tact.”

He adds: “I learned of se­cret pas­sage­ways in Confederation Build­ing that I had not seen be­fore.”

Shades of Richard Squires, eh b’ys? Sneak­ing out of the Colo­nial Build­ing to avoid lynch­ing back in the dy­ing days of Re­spon­si­ble Gov­ern­ment.

Read­ing A Man of My Word won’t dis­ap­point any­one.

… and, Grandpa, I might see you at Costco.

Beaton, p’raps we’ll pass in fu­ture hall­ways.

Thank you for read­ing.

Beaton hob-knobbed with VIPs and be­came premier of New­found­land. I’ve frit­tered about here in the shadow of Fame’s un­der­belly.

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