A Man of My Word
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 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.”
“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. in
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 bay-boybaby arse. My midwife grandmother hauled me into the world and walloped my bayboy-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 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. classes