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Family Reunions are Incredible – Way Family Reunited After 25 years

It all started 25 years ago with a family gathering of close to 200 members of Augustus and Susanna Way convened in 1989 at the Flower’s Cove Lion’s Club to celebrate their growing family tree. 

Today, the tree branches are getting longer as more great-great grandchildren and even great-great-great grandchildren have been added to our family tree. In 1989, I was one of the younger members, just shy of 4 years old. 

 On July 24-27 2014, our Way Family reconvened for an incredible weekend together to share stories, meet family members we had not seen in years and also connect with new additions, as well, create new dialogue and memories for many decades to come.

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The Official Opening included a meet and greet, speeches from the organizing committee, Mayor of Flower’s Cove and yours truly, the Member of the House of Assembly for the District and was hosted by our very own Loomis Way. It was followed by a flag raising ceremony, the Flower’s Island song, lots of food and music by Nellie Wilson. The Lion’s Club look amazing with decor, banners, sheets of family photos, a memory wall, news clippings and photo albums taking us through the years.

The nights were late, but no one seemed to tire of anyone’s company, especially with Nellie Wilson, Dwayne Snow and Jig’s Dinner playing consecutive nights. It truly was a celebration of family and fun with large meals, music and lots of dancing. Many opted to participate in the recreational cod fishery over the weekend, plus there were family bbqs, games, shed gatherings, dart tournaments and a family bonfire on the point. One couldn’t ask for better weather, or better timing given the Provincial Government removed the fire ban at 6 PM, in time for our lighting at 7 PM. Wonderful luck indeed!

I can not thank all our family members who dedicated their time to plan, organize and ensure the perfect family reunion was had 25 years later. We are truly lucky to have you as part of the family. I’m impressed by all the musical talent in the family, just wish I had inherited some of it. In the meantime, people will still have to put up with my bad car singing and love for all things rural and traditional Newfoundland & Labrador. 

If you haven’t had a family reunion yet, why not start planning? Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society. 

Looking forward to the next planned family gathering!

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA                                                                                                     The Straits-White Bay North                                                                                                         @MitchelmoreMHA

Community Spirit Soars in Town of Main Brook

The Town of Main Brook may have a small population of about 250 people, but it soars with community spirit. The Come Home Year Celebration brought hundreds of people back home in 2012 and it was evident that residents and those with a connection to the community are there to support it. It is quite exciting to see the Town, Recreation Committee, Development Association, Come Home Year Committee, businesses, residents and others are pooling together to raise the roof to building a community centre. Working together, sharing resources is the best way to reach a common goal! All the volunteers deserve a big round of applause. The workers are doing a wonderful job in putting together the building in bone chilling temperatures.

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It is important for any community to have a meeting place for friends and family to gather. This will piece of infrastructure will certainly help attract more families and retirees to this tiny town that has a K-12 school, service station, meat shop, wilderness resort, accommodations, food services, sawmill, grocery store, fire department, fish plant, post office, liquor store, development association, Town council (water & sewer services), high speed Internet, cell coverage, near airport and larger business centres of Roddickton-Bide Arm and St. Anthony.

Main Brook is a part of the French Shore, with a presence of French before the English settlers. People came to Main Brook because of the rich forest resources. Bowater‘s created a company town in the 1940’s. The population grew to more than 300 and Government appointed a town council prior to confederation. The economy thrived for decades with several expansions, until a downturn in markets and new technologies would devastate this one-industry Town in the late 60’s, early 70’s.

There appears to be such a rich history around the Bowater lumber camps. I remember my grandfather telling me stories of his days with Bowaters. It would be an interesting economic development to re-create the Bowater lumber camps as a new economic driver. One could learn about the forest industry of years gone by, get fed at the cookhouse, sleep in the bunkhouse and also spend some time learning to saw a cord of wood. This would pair well with the outdoor hunting, fishing and recreational experiences this town offers locals and tourists. It may be time to create an open-air museum and re-visit our roots.

The Town has not been sitting idle with an active sawmill that has been in the Coates’ family for generations. In addition, it has transitioned to be an inclusive fishing community, where a number of residents and those from surrounding area maintain seasonal employment at a local fish plant.

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There are many unique photo opportunities when you drive around this planned community. Bring your camera!

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You will find no homes for sale, but land is available and there are planned sub-divisions. Get yourself a view of Hare Bay, bring your ideas and be a part of a community that has a lot of spirit.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
 
 


Related articles

A Winter Wonderland – Roddickton, Newfoundland & Labrador

Roddickton coined “Moose Capital of the World” is also a winter wonderland. I took some time to visit some residents, talk about local issues and take a few snaps a long the way.

I couldn’t resist capturing this snowman. It reminded me of family and how they are the cornerstone of our lives and society. One evening back  in senior high I was studying for a biology exam with my cousin when the snow began to fall. You know that perfect wet stuff? Well, we could not resist. Our inner child said, “build a snowman”. So we listened! We even got a chair to help lever the snowballs. It was spectacular! I love seeing when individuals, children, parents and others bring out their inner child and build there very own snowman.

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Roddickton is known as a lumbering town – home of Lumberjack’s Landing and it surrounded by big drokes, towering trees and rich forests. Dr. Wilfred Grenfell founded local cooperatives and started a saw mills and farm in Canada Bay more than 100 years ago, as he understand having paid employment was another means of promoting good health. This initiative would lead to the eventual development of the Town of Roddickton. Despite challenges in the forest industry, it remains a vital part of the Town’s economy today. I snapped a photo of a nicely packed tier of firewood. There is nothing like the heat from an old wood stove on a cold winter’s day.

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Does anyone know more about this vehicle? It certainly appears to be resting during the winter.

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Agriculture has played a role in this Town, with grants going back to pre-confederation. There is opportunity for more growth and it’s nice to see the presence of a tractor.
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This Town, like Englee was dealt an economic blow when it lost its fish plant several years ago. It joins many other Towns in the District that are left with former fish plants that were once a pulse of the community and are now idle and derelict. There are still fishers in the community, lots of life and activity. Below is a picture of the ‘Jolly Rogers”.

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Roddickton – boasts a mountains backdrop and is surrounded by both water and rich forests. It is a nature lover’s paradise! If one enjoys winter life, then come visit this Town of great snowmobiling and outdoor adventure. If you are unable to make a winter visit then why not join the summer fun? 2013 is Come Home Year in Roddickton from August 5-11th.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Man on the Ice: The Rex Saunders Story

This summer I met Rex Saunders at the St. Lunaire-Griquet & Gunner’s Cove Come Home Year as I circled the tables of crafts, baked goods, artwork and books. I was impressed by Mr. Saunder’s youthful manner as he started telling me about his story, which encompasses his life experience, from childhood in St. Leonard’s (today’s St. Lunaire) to a bout with near death on the ice flows. Along with many other registered guests, I was able to purchase a signed copy that day and chat with the author.

Good Luck. God Bless.  -Rex Saunders

I met Mr. Saunders again a week later at the Main Brook Come Home Year Celebration. I had still yet to read his book and certainly did not realize his strong connection to the community. His family had moved the family there for employment and Mr. Saunders attended school in Main Brook as a small boy. The Town was bustling of activity, as it was home to many lumber camps. I’ve heard my own grandfather recant stories of his days at Bowaters.

Later in summer on Nightline with guest host, Bill Rowe, Mr. Saunders spoke of his story and talked about the sealing expedition that ended up in a fight for survival. I was in the queue, noting I had a copy and commended Mr. Saunders for getting his story on paper and published for others to experience for themselves.

I have since completed his story and I have to say, I am impressed with the simple writing style, colourful language that at times certainly brought a smile. I could relate many of the stories Mr. Saunders was telling of growing up as a curious child to those of family life, to stories that of my recently passed grandfather would often tell. It is truly important to document oral history before it is too late. We must make greater efforts to write about of family history, heritage, culture and way of life in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. I won’t go into detail about his sealing expedition because you truly need to read it for yourself, but I will say, I do understand why Mr. Saunders signed my book, “Good Luck, God Bless”.

During trying times, having faith can go a very long way. I thank Mr. Saunders for also putting into his book many photos including those of his fishing boats, his homemade ice fishing shelter and living off the land and sea. You can order your own copy on-line or purchase an e-book at the following link: http://www.flankerpress.com/man_ice.shtml. This book is an excellent short read, just in time for the holidays!

Thank you Rex Saunders for sharing your rural life with us! We all have a story to tell, so grab your pens and paper or just click the keys on your laptop to share with the world.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Family – The Cornerstone of Our Lives & Society

Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society. The moment we were brought into this world we become a member of a family. A unit that unquestionably had a significant influence upon our lives. Sometimes we take for granted how important our family is to us. We often forget that they are the people who have shaped who we are, supported us when we encountered problems and shared our hopes, dreams and accomplishments.

Did you ever hear the saying, “Don’t know what you have until it’s gone? Well I can tell you it is true. I have always had a strong sense of family, but when I lost my father I appreciated family even more.  There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. I often want to tell him something exciting that has happened to me or ask for his advice on a particular matter. But I can’t because he is not there.  Although, I will never forget the wonderful memories and the things he taught me, especially our times cod jigging.

After all, this is one of the things families do, right? They teach us and guide us in the right direction. They try to provide us with a sense of right and wrong. As a toddler, they teach us safety and security. As a school aged child they teach us to respect others and as a teenage they teach us to be independent. The kind of person we become is a result of the values we were given throughout the years. Reams of advice came from our parents and siblings, “Don’t sit too close to the TV“, “Eat your vegetables” and “Don’t drive to fast” are some examples that come to mind.

At times we probably felt that the advice was not good and that our family was trying to ruin our fun. Instead, ironically, they were only looking out for our best interests. Our family sets the stage and are the supporting actors that mould our character.

How often did someone say, “You look just like your mother?” or “You have your dad’s sense of humour?” Family members show us how to love and how to make good decisions. When I am faced with a problem, I think, “What would my mother do now?” Our roots shape our personality and to some extent determine what we will do in life.

Sometimes we find that life is not all sunshine and happiness. There will be times when we are faced with obstacles, challenges and even failures. These are the times when we need our family the most. A family is supposed to form a safety net when one of its members is falling. It isn’t just there to shine brightly when everything is going perfectly. Family members will have problems from time to time – mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Drawing on love, support and strength of the family can help us weather even the toughest storms. For instance, think of the young teenage girl who gets pregnant. She is still in high school, has no money and probably not emotionally ready to become a parent. What will she do and whom will she turn to? If she has a loving and caring family, they will provide the needed supports. What about the times when we find ourselves in financial hardships. Everyone knows that post-secondary education is very expensive. Even more so, if you have to move away from your home. Probably one of the most trying times is the lost of a loved one. Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is that your family will be there for you unconditionally when all else fails.

My family has shared the highlights of my life. They have watched me become academically successful – obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and receive the James Barnes Award for Academic Excellence; create my own business; internationally live, work and travel, and moreover become my own person. Family is there for all the important events and make up most of our memories. They are there to praise you for all the good things you have done and give you a pat on the back for your efforts. They are the people we want to spend the holidays with. 

Family is a true gift, most likely the best one we will ever receive. Even though we all have busy schedules we should appreciate those closest to us. If you have not talked to a member of your family in a while, give them a call, drop by and visit just to let them know you are thinking of them .  It will make a world of difference to your life and theirs.

The social media is no substitute for that personal touch, which was evident today at dinner. We went out to my grandmother’s house as she prepared a big traditional Sunday dinner with fresh greens. It was quite the meal with moose meat, turkey necks, peas pudding, turnip, carrot, potatoes, salt beef, molasses pudding and gravy.

We were 10 total, my cousin came with her four small children. It was nice to see so much life in the house. The kids ate in the living room with a TV tray each. Brings back memories when I was a child when there were other little cousins around and you always ate in the living room or at a small table. Now as an adult, we talked and yarned around the table as we filled our puddicks (stomachs) with grandmother’s good grub.

Usually after dinner I would rush off to get back to work, but my little cousin asked me if I would play “Go Fish” with her. I quickly agreed and so happy I did. My cousin is the eldest of four and she said that her youngest brother and sister (the twins) had to play as well, they were only 3. It was amazing to see the request to have everyone included, one could sense the strength of the family unit. We worked out a way to help the two enjoy the simple card game of “Go Fish”.  We let the youngest sister start. She got 4 pairs right from the beginning and in the end, took 1st place. Myself, we I was a distance last – but certainly the one who turned out to be the big winner.

When I got up to go, the four children all gravitated to my legs and did not want me to leave. They were like bolts that kept me secured to the floor. There is no greater feeling than spending time with your family, sharing smiles and making new memories.

Today brought back so many memories of my childhood. There is something wonderful about the sense of fun and freedom as a child. They truly enjoy life’s simplest pleasures.

In today’s busy world, please take some time to spend it with those who matter most.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

Christopher Mitchelmore was elected the first New Democratic Party (NDP) member for the District of The Straits-White Bay North on October 11, 2011 in the Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly. He is the youngest sitting MHA in the current legislature.

 

 

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