Rural Newfoundland and Labrador’s social life reads like the Cheer’s theme song…sometimes you wanna go… where everybody knows your name….and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, your troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
This past Saturday, I decided to visit the local lounge. As I walked through the door and scanned the bar I was surrounded by familiar faces. I made my way to the bar, greeting the bartender, whom I knew. I looked at the coolers and was saddened by the fact that there was no Bennett’s Dominion Ale (brewed only in Newfoundland since 1924). I think I am one of the few drinkers of this product. I have frequently asked retailers to carry it, but have not been successful. As an attempt to continue its production, I called Molson (the producer) and commended them on its quality and mature taste. If you have heard Dick Nolan’s song “Aunt Martha’s Sheep” it is mentioned, “We chugged a lug Dominion and the Mountie walked in the door”. I’d like to say I have Norm’s stool at this location, but it has been months since I last visited the joint. It was a nice evening, chatting and sharing a few laughs. We played a game of pool and then broke out into a mini-dart tournament! Classic rural Newfoundland. In rural Newfoundland, the night didn’t end when the lounge closes, no you head to the after party, typically a shed. These are quite popular. If you are priviledged to attend one, you truly can say you know someone from ’round the bay.
When I lived in Paradise, a suburb of St. Johns. My neighbour Draper always hosted a shed party. In his backyard, late at night there was always a fire going, music and beer. What more can a man want, besides the presence of some beauties. I remember dropping by on occasion after returning from Downtown to participate in the festivities. One thing for sure, even if you don’t know the people that well, you always felt you did. There is something social from a rural upbringing that presents acceptance of others who have grown up in a rural setting.
I remember a few years back, as I was travelling and overnighting at Musgrave Harbour on the Gander loop. A nice off the Trans Canada Highway town. I was looking for some Monday night entertainment, so I called a local lounge listed in the phonebook. The lady picked up the phone, “The Shag”. I was sold! The Muddy Shag was a happening place on a Monday night. There were tables of locals playing cards and having beer. There must have been 50 people there that night. I was able to have a pint of Guinness or two and shoot some pool with a co-worker. What a time!
I find that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are very social beings. We are interested in having a good time and enjoying life. We look forward to sharing that with others who have similar views on life. If you like beer, song, dance, darts and cards….you never know what a local night at the lounge may present.
Always a character….