LABRADOR IX

12/3/2021  

In his younger days with very few funds, Tom used to sleep in his car on road trips. Working 12-hour days and, at times, 7 days a week, Tom reached a point in his life where he enjoyed the creature comforts of a comfortable room, a hot shower, and no cops knocking on his car windows at 3AM. He sought a room at 2AM and was directed to a downtown hotel by a helpful motel owner. As he entered the 3 story, shoddy structure, he was greeted by a gregarious Canadian named Larry who gave Tom the lumberjack handshake. Canada has 4 industries: mining, oil, lumber, and drinking. A lumberjack who drinks will inevitably lope off a few fingers and a handshake with a thumb, index finger, and 3 stubs is known as the lumberjack handshake. With a room secured for 3 nights, Tom retired and proceeded to explore the iron mining town of nearly 8,000. The reason for the lack of rooms was because a week-long party known as: Homecoming, was in progress. That evening, Tom went to the festival grounds and intermixed with the locals. Striking up a conversation at a beer tent, the first question posed was, “what is this Homecoming thing about?” The response from a 24-year-old named Randy was, “the young people who were born here, leave for Quebec at 18.” “Why’s that? Is there no work here?” inquired Tom. “Oh, there’s plenty of work here. The reason is that in Quebec, the drinking age is 18. In Labrador, it’s 19,” clarified Randy. Another ugly American act of ignorance. When asked why an American was so far off the path, Tom explained his airplane flight years ago that revealed half of the road that he took yesterday. Inquiring about the other half to Happy Valley/Goose Bay that Tom was about to embark on tomorrow morning, no one in a crowd of a dozen Canadians could answer that. They’ve never been down that road. Tom couldn’t believe that. Looks like drinking is the #1 industry of Canada. Early the next day, Tom embarked on his 10-hour, 530-kilometer trip on a gravel road to uncharted lands. 

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