So, hey, we’re in Cape Breton! It’s been a few years since I’ve done this, and I’m so happy to be experiencing it all again. I might be scaring Kirk with enthusiasm. We’ve heard fiddles, it being the Ceilidh Trail after all, and we’ve bought the obligatory CD or three of local music. And I found my way back to a sweet little beach I happened upon by accident the last time. On one side is rolling farm land. The other side looks like Ireland, with houses plunked down on a hillside. The water is warm and clear, and I watched a crab skitter by. Then we plunked our asses on camp chairs in the water and sat back. Pure bliss.
We’re staying at a great German B&B with a huge galloping cat named Mister in Port Hood tonight. There isn’t much happening here, except when the enormous bike blew through town with all kinds of people on it and everyone raised a ruckus over it.
I have no idea what that was about. Neither did the proprietor.
Kirk has taken to saying, “What next, boss?” I think it’s supposed to be partially endearing. But we all know that sarcasm is honesty said slant. And fine, I’m happy to be the boss.
So I directed him down a side road toward a lighthouse on the map. After winding a few miles outside of downtown, we thought we’d be all alone by the water. Nope. The pier was hopping! People everywhere greeting each other and loading coolers onto boats. The lighthouse was not the main attraction. Kirk asked what was going on, and one of the good people of Mabou told us it was a boat parade to celebrate the town. Kind of like Old Home Days back in New England. Cool! So we went back to town and took up with the locals to wait for the boats to come in.
Mabou is a town of about 1,200. So I have no doubt everyone knows each other. And then there were the two dummies from New Hampshire, sitting in camp chairs, clapping along to the live music and taking it all in. And it was great. Because for all the b.s. that comes with a small town, there’s also a lot of heart. And I was glad to observe it as an outsider. People hugging and welcoming each other home. Obvious matriarchs holding court and keeping an eye on everyone. Older men with white socks pulled way up cooking hot dogs by the bandstand. Young cousins hugging and giggling and straying from their parents. The local band playing slow tunes. Teenagers fixing their hair and walking in groups and clearly not feeing confident yet. And babies being passed from one set of arms to another across the whole park. Thank you, Mabou, for letting us be part of your town tonight.
My pictures don’t do it justice, but it’s day three and I’ve given up on lugging my big camera, so you’re just getting phone shots.
And now, as I type and Kirk saws wood, I am watching the thunderstorms roll in and thinking about how early I agreed to get up tomorrow. Because for all the resting by the water we did today, tomorrow is a lot of road and hiking. So move through, storms. Move through.